The Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute) of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law is pleased to announce it has received a $50,000 gift from Julie A. Uebler, principal attorney at Uebler Law LLC, and Steven R. Wall, Managing Partner of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, to provide seed funding for the Institute’s first Justice for Victims Fellowship—a two-year program through which the recipient will provide direct legal services to victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
“My husband, Steve, and I have great confidence in the Institute’s ability to meet its mission to improve the legal system’s response to commercial sexual exploitation,” remarked Ms. Uebler. “We hope our gift will inspire others to help make this important fellowship a reality.”
Once fully funded, the Justice for Victims Fellow will provide legal representation to victims both in a clinical setting at the Widger School of Law working alongside pro bono attorneys, and as a staff attorney at the Philadelphia Defender Association serving Project Dawn Court participants. The Philadelphia Defender Association also has committed $50,000 in support of the Fellowship.
Additionally, the Justice for Victims Fellow will research and produce concrete data on the breadth of commercial sexual exploitation in Pennsylvania; determine solutions to the complex legal needs of victims and survivors; and train and educate the legislature, service providers, and other stakeholders as the legal and social responses to sex trafficking continue to shift.
“With Julie and Steve’s generous gift, we are half way toward reaching our $200,000 goal needed to launch the fellowship this fall,” remarked Institute Director Shea Rhodes. “We are thrilled about the prospect of being able to help more victims in the very near future, and are immensely grateful to Julie and Steve for their partnership and support.”
Established in 2015 with a $450,000 grant from the NoVo Foundation, the CSE Institute seeks to educate and provide technical assistance to those who respond to commercial sexual exploitation in Pennsylvania and to promote victim-centered, multidisciplinary collaboration.
Since its launch last September, the Institute has trained over 700 members of the law enforcement, prosecutors, defense counsel, judiciary, and victim services community throughout Pennsylvania, facilitating a uniform approach on the implementation of Act 105 (2014) Pennsylvania’s comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.
The Institute also has provided technical assistance to both law enforcement and non-governmental organizations and engaged in extensive policy education and advocacy for pending state legislation SB851, “Safe Harbor;” continues to collaborate with other anti-trafficking organizations to develop informational presentations that reach regional and national audiences; and remains an avid contributor to several statewide anti-trafficking work groups.
To make a donation in support of the CSE Institute’s Victims for Justice Fellowship, please call the Law School’s Office of Development at 610-519-7036. You also are welcome to make a gift online; just be sure to select “Commercial Sexual Exploitation Institute” from the designation dropdown menu.
For more information on the CSE Institute and/or the Victims for Justice Fellowship, please contact Shea Rhodes at 610-519-7183 or email@example.com.