It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – check out our list of exciting ways you can get involved!

Domestic violence is one of the most common, yet least discussed issues affecting Americans today. Even if we haven’t experienced it ourselves, odds are we love someone who has suffered (or is currently suffering) at the hands of their intimate partner – According to the NCADV,  1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking, among other forms of abuse that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the passage of Public Law 101-112, which designates October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and calls on the people “to observe this month by becoming more aware of the tragedy of domestic violence, supporting those who are working to end domestic violence, and participating in other appropriate efforts.” As usual, Sanctuary is joining millions of survivors and advocates throughout DVAM to bring the issue of domestic violence to the forefront of the public’s attention, raise awareness about our services, honor the memory of those we’ve lost, and celebrate strength and courage of our clients and of survivors across the country.

We hope that you, too, will honor the survivors in your life by joining us as we break the silence around domestic violence. Check out a list of exciting opportunities below and stay tuned for more DVAM updated throughout this month!


Oct. 1st & 8th: NBC’s Domestic Violence Vigils: Commemorating Victims of Domestic Violence

Oct. 4th: CLE:  Investigating and Prosecuting Intimate Partner Traffickers

Oct. 5th: Bronx 5K Run/Walk/Roll to End Domestic Violence

Oct. 24thThe Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence and Cyber Abuse

Oct. 25th & 26th: Gibney & Sanctuary for Families Present: Cracks of Light

Oct. 27th2019 Vision for Change: A Survivor-Led Conference to End Gender-Based Violence


Stand with survivors of domestic violence! Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues; share information through social media; let your representatives know that the silence surrounding domestic violence must end!

On Facebook: Show your support for survivors by adding a #StandWithSurvivors temporary frame to your profile picture

On Instagram & Twitter: Go purple to raise awareness about domestic violence!

  • Change your profile pictures to all-purple for the month of October by downloading this image or by taking a screenshot of our latest Tweet and Instagram post
  • Share graphics from our Social Media Toolkit using the hashtags #StandWithSurvivors & #NoLoveInViolence and tagging @sffny
  • Drive the conversation on why we must #StandWithSurvivors using our graphics (or create your own!) and tag @sffny

Tag us @SFFNY (Twitter & Instagram) or @SanctuaryforFamilies (Facebook) and use the hashtags: #NoLoveInViolence #StandWithSurvivors


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Sanctuary Welcomes Denis McInerney, Partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, as New Board President

New Board Members Include Garrard Beeney, Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, Hon. Katherine Forrest, Partner

New Board Members Include Garrard Beeney, Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, Hon. Katherine Forrest, Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Jessica Tuchinsky, Partner at Simpson Thacher

Sanctuary for Families, New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence, announced that Denis McInerney, a Litigation Partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell, has been elected President of its Board of Directors, effective this month.

Mr. McInerney first joined Sanctuary’s Board in 2005 and served until 2010 when he stepped down to work for the Department of Justice, first as the Chief of the Fraud Section (2010 to 2013) and then Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division (2013 to 2014). He re-joined Sanctuary’s Board in 2015. Having served on a variety of Sanctuary Board committees over the years, including Audit (Chair), Development (Co-Chair), Finance, Nominating and Program, he brings a wealth of experience in Sanctuary’s work, as well as a deep commitment to helping survivors of gender violence.

Denis McInerney, President of Sanctuary for Families’ Board of Directors, said, “As Sanctuary celebrates its 35th year of service, I am awed and inspired by the legacy of my predecessors – the leaders and volunteers who have dedicated themselves to furthering Sanctuary’s mission of building a world in which freedom from gender violence is a basic human right. I am deeply honored to serve as its President and am excited to work with Sanctuary’s incredible staff and supporters now working on the frontlines of change.”

Three law firm partners have joined Sanctuary’s Board of Directors, effective this month:

Garrard Beeney, Partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. Mr. Beeney is co-head of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Group and is regularly recognized as a leading lawyer for his counsel to clients on intellectual property and licensing transactions and litigation matters around the world.  He is a frequent speaker at IP, antitrust and legal forums and often contributes thought leadership pieces, particularly in the area of standard essential patents and world-wide licensing. He is the 2019 recipient of Sanctuary’s Law Firm Leadership Award.

Hon. Katherine Forrest, Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Ms. Forrest was a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice before she rejoined Cravath in the firm’s Litigation Department. She is regarded as a leader in legal issues relating to technology, including the digital environment, high‑speed trading and content distribution.

Jessica Tuchinsky, Partner at Simpson Thacher. A member of the firm’s Banking and Credit Practice in New York, Ms. Tuchinsky represents leading financial institutions and investment banks with the arrangement and syndication of senior credit facilities, including acquisition, bridge and other corporate financings. She has significant experience in complicated financings in the leveraged finance, investment grade, and asset-based markets.

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families, said “On behalf of our organization and the thousands of survivors of gender-based violence that we assist each year, I thank our new Board President Denis McInerney for taking on this important leadership role and welcome new Board Members Garrard Beeney, Katherine Forrest and Jessica Tuchinsky. They are a formidable group. I look forward to their leadership, advocacy and counsel as we work together to help our clients find their way to fulfilling lives that are free from violence.”

Mr. McInerney takes over from William F. Gorin, Senior Counsel at Cleary Gottlieb, who served as President of Sanctuary’s Board of Directors since 2013. During Mr. Gorin’s tenure as Board President, he oversaw the search that resulted in new executive director Hon. Judy Harris Kluger; monitored Sanctuary’s growth from a $15.6 million to $26.2 million organization; and assisted in moving headquarters to a new lower Manhattan location. Mr. Gorin also led a strategic planning process which has resulted in the expansion of Sanctuary’s advocacy and outreach work; the growth of the Economic Empowerment Program and development of training alternatives to address the ever-changing challenges of poverty; increased survivor leadership; new legal programs for incarcerated survivors and survivors of campus sexual assault; and improved therapy treatments for children and families. Mr. Gorin will remain part of the Sanctuary family to co-chair the President’s Council with Stephanie Ferdman.

Judge Kluger said, “Sanctuary cannot grow and prosper without strong and dedicated board leadership. During Bill’s tenure, our programs expanded, and our organization thrived, allowing us to provide additional support to our neediest clients while also recognizing the hard work of our staff. He led our board with strength and commitment and was a passionate ambassador for Sanctuary to the wider public. We owe Bill an immense debt of gratitude for his extraordinary service.”

Photo: Sanctuary Executive Director, Hon. Judy H. Kluger, and Sanctuary Board President Denis McInerney

A Statement from Dorchen Leidholdt on the 7.23.19 Panel Discussion

Dorchen Leidholdt is the Director of Sanctuary’s Legal Center.  — I am not on Twitter

Dorchen Leidholdt is the Director of Sanctuary’s Legal Center. 

I am not on Twitter but understand from friends and colleagues who are that a number of accusations have been made against me over the last 24 hours. First and foremost, I want to make it clear that I had nothing to do with the police presence at last night’s panel discussion about the Gottfried/Salazar/Ramos bill to fully decriminalize the sex industry in New York.

Far from being a proponent of the carceral state, I began my legal career as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society. For six years I advocated zealously on behalf of hundreds of criminal defendants. Many had survived egregious gender violence only to be revictimized by the criminal justice system, often by being arrested for prostitution or loitering for purposes of prostitution.

My advocacy against such misuse of the criminal justice system continued when I joined Sanctuary for Families, where I represent defendants and incarcerated people and advocate for criminal justice reform. My work on behalf of an incarcerated woman who killed her abuser and was wrongfully convicted of his murder led to my co-founding the Incarcerated Gender Violence Survivor Initiative, which I co-chair.

For decades I have advocated against the arrest and prosecution of people in the sex industry for prostitution and loitering for prostitution. I joined forces with the attorneys bringing the constitutional challenge against “loitering for prostitution,” and I helped lead Sanctuary’s efforts to pass the bill that would strike loitering from the NYS penal code. Sanctuary is currently advocating for two additional bills – one would amend New York’s rape shield law to protect people with prostitution convictions; the second would enable trafficking survivors to apply for vacatur relief for all criminal convictions.

Those who organized and spoke at last night’s event have significant common ground with those who protested it.

Effecting meaningful criminal justice reform requires ending the longstanding over-use and misuse of the criminal justice system while ensuring that those who have suffered racism, economic inequality, and gender-based discrimination and violence obtain the criminal justice protection they have long been denied. I hope that in the future we can unite to work to achieve these crucially important goals.

NY Must Do More for People in Prostitution, but Full Decriminalization Is Not The Answer

Our statement regarding the recently-introduced bill aimed at fully decriminalizing the sex industry in New York.

As service providers, advocates, and survivor leaders, we believe that people bought and sold in the sex trade should not be arrested, prosecuted, or criminalized. Though Senator Salazar’s and Assembly Member Gottfried’s bill (S.6419/A.8230) does decriminalize prostitution for victims of the sex trade, it also decriminalizes the most heinous and exploitative elements of this industry: sex buying and pimping. For this reason, Sanctuary for Families strongly opposes this bill. We urge legislators and advocates to dig deeper before supporting legislation that will promote pimping, sex buying, and the expansion of the sex industry.

Prostitution causes severe long term psychological and physical harm. An estimated 90% of people in prostitution in the United States are trafficked. Decriminalizing the system of prostitution would, in effect, sanction human trafficking because it would decriminalize all components of the sex trade. It would render illegal businesses, currently run by organized crime, legal. Brothel and illicit massage parlor owners would be deemed bonafide business owners or managers, and the profits they make off the sale of the bodies of women, children, the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups would be legitimized.

We are better than this. We must ensure victims are protected, but cannot do so while extending the same protections to sex traffickers. Unfortunately, this bill does not take this nuanced approach, and it, therefore, should not become law in New York.


Hon. Judy H. Kluger
Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families