Sharon Stapel, Esq. is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP). AVP is the country’s largest organization dedicated to eliminating hate violence, sexual violence, and domestic/intimate partner violence affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. AVP provides direct client services in New York City and engages in advocacy and public education locally and nationally. AVP coordinates the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a coalition of 42 anti-violence programs dedicated to creating a national response to anti-LGBTQ violence, and the New York State LGBTQ Domestic Violence Network, a statewide, multidisciplinary group of direct service providers, community-based agencies, advocates, educators, policy makers and funders working on behalf of LGBTQ communities affected by domestic violence.
Sharon sits on the LGBT Advisory Committee to the New York Police Department and the New York City Family Court LGBT Advisory Committee. She is a stakeholder to the Vera Institute’s Promising Practice Initiative, a national effort with the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to identify and share promising practices that have been developed since 1994 to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. She is also a partner in the National Center for Crime Victim’s national capacity building initiative which will build capacity in the crime victims’ field to better serve victims of crime.
Prior to joining AVP, Sharon directed domestic violence legal programs at South Brooklyn Legal Services and the Legal Aid Society, where she began her legal career as a staff attorney and created Legal Aid’s first dedicated domestic violence project. Sharon is the former chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Committee and the New York City LGBTQ Domestic Violence Task Force.
Sharon was an adjunct professor of law at CUNY School of Law and an adjunct assistant professor at Hunter College. She is the author of Falling to Pieces: New York State Civil Legal Remedies Available To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Survivors Of Domestic Violence, 52 N.Y. L. Sch. L. Rev 247 (2007-2008) and Domestic Violence in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities, Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence: Representing the Victim, Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Department, Goodman & Leidholdt (Eds.), 5th Ed. (2006). She co-authored Public Assistance and Housing: Helping Battered Women Navigate Difficult Systems, Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence: Representing the Victim, Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, First Department, Goodman & Leidholdt (Eds.), 5th Ed. (2006).
Prior to going to law school, Sharon worked on anti-violence issues in South Africa with the African National Congress’s Youth and Women Leagues. Sharon began her career in anti-violence work in 1989 as a volunteer for a local domestic violence shelter in Massachusetts.