Petit Family Foundation to Help Honor Actress Mariska Hargitay and the Joyful Heart Foundation with Dr. Henry C. Lee Award

By BONNER CONSULTING GROUP (Open Post) - March 8, 2016

Jane Doe No More (, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support and improving the way society responds to victims of sexual violence, is proud to announce Mariska Hargitay, star of the NBC hit drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) and the Joyful Heart Foundation along with Attorney James G. Clark and the Victim Rights Center of Connecticut will be honored at the Jane Doe No More Dr. Henry C. Lee Award & Recognition dinner with the 7th annual Dr. Henry C. Lee Award on Friday, March 18, 2016.

“We are so thrilled and humbled to be honoring two remarkable individuals and organizations with this year’s Dr. Henry C. Lee Award,” says Donna Palomba, President and founder of Jane Doe No More. “Mariska’s role on SVU has proven to be incredibly powerful for victims of sexual violence. But it’s her real life role as a voice for those victims that truly reflects the spirit of this award which recognizes an extraordinary commitment to improving the lives of sexual violence survivors.”

“I am deeply touched by this honor and I'm proud to share in the commitment of Jane Doe No More to changing the way society responds to survivors of sexual assault,” said Mariska Hargitay. “Jane Doe No More has also championed Joyful Heart's work to end the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in the United States. I am grateful to Donna for her courage, and to the team at Jane Doe No More for making a real and lasting difference in the lives of survivors,” Hargitay continued.

The intersection of art and life began for Hargitay shortly after receiving fan mail for her role as Olivia Benson. The letters were not about securing an autograph nor did they dote on Hargitay’s acting skills. Instead, the letters were from victims sharing their stories of survival with Hargitay, whose response was to create the Joyful Heart Foundation. Hargitay started the organization in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Today, Joyful Heart is a national organization, with hubs of service in Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York. Joyful Heart’s mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

In addition to Hargitay’s push to educate and empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence, Attorney James G. Clark has been fighting for victims of sexual violence for more than 3 decades. Clark, who has been specifically trained to represent the needs of crime victims at numerous national conferences, first served victims of crime in 1979 when he co-founded the first Temporary Restraining Order clinic for domestic violence victims in San Francisco while a law student. He founded the Victim Rights Center of Connecticut in July 2013.

“Victim Rights Center’s goal is that every survivor will have a lawyer to work with advocates, health professionals and law enforcement to rebuild their lives in safety,” says Clark. “Crime victims need trauma-informed legal help to deal with issues like orders of protection, compensation, housing, employment, education, child custody, and the complex and confusing criminal and civil court systems.”

“The work Jim does is nothing short of extraordinary,” says Palomba. “He has committed his life to the needs of victims of violent crime and he does it with remarkable compassion and understanding. His dedication is a sincere reflection of the inspiration behind the Dr. Henry C. Lee Award.”

The Petit Family Foundation, an ongoing supporter of Jane Doe No More, is the Presenting Sponsor for the Dr. Henry C. Lee Award and Recognition Dinner. “We couldn’t be more honored to have the support of the Petit Family Foundation,” says Palomba. “Dr. Petit and the incredible men and women who represent the foundation inspire all of us with their dedication to support efforts made to protect and help those affected by violence.”

Palomba, who is Jane Do No More, founded the organization in 2007 after fighting for 7 years for the right to be “believed.” After being brutally raped in 1993 Palomba was accused by law enforcement of “lying,” a heinous example of police misconduct. It was a series of events that changed the course of Palomba’s life and she has made it her mission to insure this never happens to another victim. “My fight for justice allows me to fight for others.”

Each year, Jane Doe No More selects national and local award recipients recognized for their extraordinary commitment and unwavering dedication to ending the silence, and improving the lives of sexual violence survivors. This year’s recognition dinner will be held Friday, March 18th at The Waterview in Monroe, CT.

A Jane Doe No More scholarship will also be awarded at the event. Tickets for this celebratory evening are $125 per person and include open bar, cocktail reception, dinner and dessert. Tables of 10 may be reserved and event sponsors are being sought. Please visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

About Joyful Heart Foundation Inspired by her role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Over the last 12 years, Joyful Heart has evolved into a national organization that is paving the way for innovative approaches to treating trauma, igniting shifts in the way the public views and responds to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and reforming and advancing policies and legislation to ensure justice for survivors. To learn more, visit

About Victim Rights Center of Connecticut Victim Rights Center of Connecticut (VRCCT) is dedicated to serving the needs of victims of violent crime. VRCCT acts as independent legal counsel sworn to protect the legal rights and best interests of the victim through a broad-based approach grounded in litigation, creative problem-solving, and extensive knowledge of the judicial system.

About the Petit Family Foundation The Petit Family Foundations honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The foundation's funds are used to foster education for young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.

About Jane Do No More, Inc. Jane Doe No More, Inc. was founded in 2007 to improve the way society responds to victims of sexual violence. Through education, awareness, advocacy and support programs, Jane Doe No More has had a direct and lasting impact on sexual violence victims in Connecticut and across the country. To learn more, visit