Rhinebeck Rotary Features Presentation on Domestic Violence



On Monday, August 15th, during its regular meeting at The Beekman Arms, the Rhinebeck Rotary featured a presentation by Michelle Pollock Rich, executive director of Grace Smith House, a domestic and family violence prevention and victim support agency headquartered in Poughkeepsie.


Ms. Rich is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law and interned at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Family and Sexual Assault Division. She joined Grace Smith House as its executive director in 2014, having previously served as executive director of “The Retreat” Domestic Violence Services in East Hampton, New York and program director for the Camden County Women’s Center in New Jersey. She is also a fellow of the Omega Institute’s “Women’s Leadership Center,” a board member of the Dutchess County Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, and previously served as a fellow with the Women’s Policy Institute of New Jersey.


Ms. Rich informed Rotarians of the various services provided by Grace Smith House, which has been serving women and families in the Hudson Valley Region for over 30 years. Among services provided are: programs for children who have been exposed to domestic violence, youth education and prevention programs, advocacy and support group programs, family court and child protective services liaison work, high risk danger assessment, crisis intervention, counseling for survivors of domestic violence, safe shelters, a transitional living program, a safe pet shelter program, and legislative advocacy.

Photo Courtesy Of Irving Solero Pictured, left to right Rotary president-elect, Kiki Steele and Grace Smith House executive director, Michelle Pollock Rich

Startling statistics Ms. Rich shared include that: 90% to 95% of domestic violence survivors are women, 28% of all violence against women in the United States annually is perpetrated by an intimate partner, 3.3 million children annually in the United States are exposed to violence committed by family members, children in homes where partner abuse occurs are 1,500 times more likely to be abused themselves, and female homicide victims are more than twice as likely to have been killed by an intimate partner than are male homicide victims.


The Rhinebeck Rotary Club meets on Mondays at 12:15 pm at the Beekman Arms throughout the year. The Rotary is a humanitarian organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of others through local, national, and international service projects. The weekly meetings feature speakers covering a variety of human-interest topics. Interested guests are welcome to attend.
For information on becoming a member, to reserve a speaker’s spot at an upcoming meeting, or to attend a meeting to hear a specific speaker, please call Lou Trapani at 845-876-3088, ext. 14.