St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson has donated $2 million to the Mitchell Hamline School of Law to create the “Zero Abuse Project” to help improve the way lawyers and others respond to child abuse.
Anderson, who has made a career representing victims of child sex abuse, announced the gift on Thursday.
“This is going to enable us to expand exponentially our work in the child protection area,” said Mark Gordon, dean of the law school.
The Zero Abuse Project will, among other things, offer online training to lawyers and other professionals in what’s known as “trauma-informed” responses to child abuse cases. The training is designed, in part, to ensure that victims are treated with sensitivity and are not “re-traumatized” by the legal system, according to Prof. Joanna Woolman, who directs the law school’s child protection program.
It will also create a new law clinic that will focus on child advocacy.
“For 35 years, we have helped survivors cope with the ravages of child abuse,” Anderson said in a statement announcing the gift.
“We believe child abuse can end, and the Zero Abuse Project is pivotal to this mission.”
Anderson, a leading attorney in child sex abuse lawsuits against the Catholic Church and other organizations, is a 1975 graduate of the law school, then known as William Mitchell.