Monday, June 16, 2008

Sappern program sets golf tourney

By Alexandra Sanders
Special to the Register

A woman stands bruised and scared at a window in a courthouse with a line of people behind her listening as the clerk explains the process of filing a restraining order for a domestic violence case.
The goal of the Yale Sappern Fellowship program is to prevent this scenario. The aim is to provide support to those seeking a way out of domestic violence.
The program, affiliated with New Haven Legal Assistance and Quinnipiac University Law School, allows victims of domestic violence to meet one-on-one with a Quinnipiac law student to allow for a more personal experience.
About 10 law students per semester are assigned to more than 1,400 domestic violence victims to help explain the court process while providing support to them and their families.
The fellowship program tries to encourage those who may be wary of seeking help to come forward and let their voice be heard by someone who will listen.
"I think the program encourages people to come forward," said Pietrina Sappern, wife of the late Yale Sappern. It helps make the process easier for victims and allows them to feel comfortable seeking help. "You really think twice when it’s your own, personal life," she said.
Yale Sappern was the first assistant clerk and supervisor of the Family Division in New Haven Superior Court from 1966-1997. He was an active member of the Connecticut State Task force against family violence and through his fellowship program, has encouraged others to help victims act against family violence.
In order to continue the program, the Yale Sappern Memorial Fund along with Donald Sappern, Yale’s brother, will host the ninth annual fundraising golf tournament and dinner June 26 at the Great River Golf Club in Milford. Proceeds from fundraising events such as the golf tournament benefit the fellowship program and the law students involved.
For more information or to participate in the tournament or attend the dinner, contact Pietrina Sappern at 878-1268 or, or Barry Sinoway at 281-0202 or
"Yale has always believed that no victim of domestic violence should have to stand at a window and tell everybody what happened. He believed that everybody should receive individual attention," said Pietrina Sappern.
Yale Sappern initially created the program as a scholarship, which grew into the fellowship in 1995. The program began working with Yale University law student volunteers and eventually expanded to Quinnipiac law students. After Yale Sappern’s death in 1997, the fellowship began compensating the students for their work.
"I am really impressed with the interns," said Pietrina. Some of them have even called the victims after the process to see if they were OK, she said.
Many people don’t seek help because of fear, embarrassment or misunderstanding of the process, but the fellowship’s goal is to remedy that. They not only welcome adults; the office holds toys and coloring books available for children.
The upcoming golf tournament will celebrate the work that Yale Sappern has done for domestic violence and continue the program’s purpose of being an ear to a voice that is often stifled.
"There is no reason anyone should live in fear anymore," said Pietrina Sappern.
Alexandra Sanders is a Register intern.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awareness, documentation, education & program support....Thank you to every person and organization that helps to stand against domestic violence. Violence happens for many reasons starting at home. Our children and our communities can have a brighter future-

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