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  Addressing the Holistic Needs of Crime Victims
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  Build Your Own Body of Evidence-Based Knowledge
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  Building Resiliency within Child Abuse Organizations
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  CACs and SARTs Partnering for Sexual Violence Victims
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  Child Victims: Providing Effective Rights Enforcement Representation
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  Creating an Effective Identity Theft Coalition
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  Crime Victim Considerations for Parole Professionals
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  Developing an Effective Multidisciplinary Team
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  Elder Abuse in the LGBTQ Community
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  Engaging Survivors in Combating Human Trafficking
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  Forensic Interviewing in Tribal Communities
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  Forensic Interviewing Tribal Communities
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  Helping Victims of Financial Fraud
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  Impact of Crime Scene Clean Up
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  Implications of Adverse Childhood Experiences for Practitioners
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  Implications of Human Trafficking Federal Strategic Action Plan
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  Incorporating LGBTQ Victims’ Needs into Mainstream Victim Services
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  Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care Principles Into Practice
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  Innovative Practices in Victim Assistance and Compensation
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  Integrating Research Results Into Victim Services
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  Postconviction Exonerations and Victim Assistance
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  Providing Appropriate Support for Military Victims of Sexual Assault
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  Responding to and Avoiding Crime Using Technology
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  Responding to Sexual Assault Victims through Military/Civilian Partnerships
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  Responding to Victims of Cyberbullying
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  Responding to Victims of Stalking on Campus
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  Serving Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
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  Serving Trafficking Victims in Immigrant Communities
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  Serving Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Sexual Assault Victims
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  Teen Victimization in the Digital Age
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  Using Social Media to Assist Crime Victims
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  Victim Legal Assistance Networks: Needs Assessment/Planning Implementation
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  Working With Victims in Cold Hit DNA Cases
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  Home

Guest Host Biographies

OVC Web Forum Guest Host sessions offer an impressive roster of experts discussing best practices for a wide variety of victim issues. You can read about the guest hosts here. For more information, questions, or comments about the sessions, send an e-mail to OVCproviderforum@ncjrs.gov.

To view a biography, click on the guest host's name below. To learn more about previous years’ guest hosts, visit the Guest Host Biographies Archive.

Current Guest Hosts
Past Guest Hosts

Current Guest Hosts

Catherine Thurston

06/25/2015 online discussion host
Topic: Elder Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

Photo of Catherine ThurstonCatherine Thurston is the Senior Director of Services and Training at Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), where she oversees all social services and community-based programming. Since joining SAGE in 2005, Ms. Thurston has overseen the launches of both the nation's first federally funded National Resource Center on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Aging and the nation's first senior center devoted to LGBT older adults.

Ms. Thurston has worked in the fields of aging and mental health for 24 years. Before joining SAGE, she was the Director of Alzheimer's Programs at Brooklyn';s Cobble Hill Health Center. The first decade of her career was spent at one of the nation's first geriatric mobile mental health programs, providing case management and psychotherapy to homebound older adults.

Ms. Thurston is published in the areas of aging and dementia and LGBT Aging. She is a member of AARP's Caregiving Advisory Panel and the American Society on Aging's LGBT Aging Issues Network Council and was recently appointed to the steering committee of the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging. Ms. Thurston holds a masters in social work from Hunter College.


Past Guest Hosts

Raymond Goins

05/14/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Impact of Crime Scene Clean Up

Sergeant Raymond Goins has been an officer of the Norman Police Department since March 1997. While serving with the Department he has been assigned additional duties as a Technical Investigator (CSI); Drug Recognition Expert (DRE Instructor qualified); and academy instructor of basic forensic investigation, crime scene processing/evidence collection, DUI enforcement/Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, and domestic violence. He is currently assigned to the Forensic Investigation Section, Criminal Investigation Division of the Norman Police Department.

Sergeant Goins has provided training for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council, and several other agencies on topics of domestic violence, crime scene and injury photography, collection and preservation of evidence, and crime scene processing. Prior to his tenure with Norman PD he was a patrolman for the Roswell (NM) Police Department for 2 years and a Military Policeman in the United States Army for 12 years. Sergeant Goins has enforced military and civilian laws in four states and two foreign countries.

Michael L. Milnor

05/14/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Impact of Crime Scene Clean Up

Michael Milnor is recently retired after a 31-year career in law enforcement in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has held the positions of Sheriff, Director of Public Safety, Director/Coordinator of an FBI multijurisdictional task force, Senior Supervisory Investigator, and polygraph examiner. Mr. Milnor currently holds the position of Professor of Criminal Justice at Liberty University, teaching over 400 residential undergraduate criminal justice students. He has a B.S. Degree in Sociology/Criminology and an M.A. Degree in Management and Leadership. Mr. Milnor has been involved in hundreds of investigations concerning crimes against persons, including child homicide and child abuse. He is a guest lecturer throughout Virginia as well as nationally for the National District Attorney’s Association on the topics of crimes against persons and sexual assault investigation.

Rebecca Bender
01/28/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Engaging Survivors in Combatting Human Trafficking

Rebecca Bender is a survivor of sex trafficking and an advocate for eradicating modern-day slavery. In 2014, she founded Rebecca Bender Ministries, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that provides direct services to victims of sex trafficking living in rural communities that focus on deeper levels of healing, as well as community training, curricula development, and consultant services for safe home development and nongovernmental organizations.

Ms. Bender is the author of "Roadmap to Redemption," a workbook for survivors, and "Red Flags," a brochure used nationally to help prevent sex trafficking among domestic youth. She has created trainings for a variety of service providers, including child welfare, juvenile justice, law enforcement, medical professionals, district attorneys, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ms. Bender is a member of the Survivor Leader Institute and National Survivor Network. She is the recipient of the 2014 Female Overcomer Award and the 2013 Unlikely Hero Award. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Jean Bruggeman, Esq.
01/28/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Engaging Survivors in Combatting Human Trafficking

Jean Bruggeman currently serves as a Human Trafficking Fellow with the Office for Victims of Crime within the US Department of Justice. She supports OVC’s efforts to improve and expand access to legal and social services for crime victims, provides training and technical assistance to service providers and government agencies nationwide, and supports OVC’s intergovernmental efforts to improve services for victims of human trafficking.

Jean has 15 years of victim services experience and expertise in nonprofit management, language access, immigration, human trafficking and domestic violence. She has developed comprehensive legal and social services programs for survivors, provided direct legal representation to survivors, authored training resources, developed an interpreter service to ensure access to legal services in the District of Columbia, and served as the Interim Executive Director of a nonprofit in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and Bryn Mawr College, and is a member of the DC and Maryland (inactive) bar associations. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Jennifer Burkmire
02/25/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Developing an Effective Multidisciplinary Team

Jennifer Burkmire is an advocate for children and a contract consultant for nonprofit organizations that provide social services. She is a trained child forensic interviewer and has 11 years of experience in coordinating, facilitating, and training multidisciplinary teams. Ms. Burkmire is a presenter and trainer on issues of resilience and the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, through the Alaska Children’s Trust’s "Alaska Resilience Initiative." She serves on the federally mandated Alaska Citizen Review Panel—evaluating child protection systems within the state of Alaska—and is active in communitywide efforts to promote the well-being and safety of children in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Ms. Burkmire previously served as the executive director of The Children’s Place Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Alaska and as the board chair of the Alaska Children’s Alliance, where she assisted the statewide group of 10 CACs in achieving chapter accreditation by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). She also led The Children’s Place CAC and its associated multidisciplinary team to NCA CAC accreditation in 2005 and 2010. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Keri Darling
05/05/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Building Your Own Body of Evidence-Based Knowledge

Keri Darling founded and currently serves as the Director/Trainer of DVAS, Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services, which serves Deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deaf-blind women, men, and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In 2001, DVAS was recognized at the Vermont Crime Victim's Rights week awards ceremony, Victims' Voices: Silent No More, for providing exceptional help to service providers with trainings on how to better communicate with and serve deaf victims. DVAS was also recognized by National Deaf Women United in recognition of outstanding services to the Deaf community in Vermont. Ms. Darling was formerly the chair of the Justice for Deaf Victims National Coalition Advisory Council and was Vice President of Deaf Women United.

Ms. Darling has extensive experience in developing  training curricula that reflect best practices when serving Deaf or hard-of-hearing victims and survivors. She has experience delivering hundreds of trainings and workshops on a national, state, and local level; developing a variety of evaluations incorporating skills, knowledge, and best practices; developing needs assessments; providing technical assistance for specialized program development; and participating in coordinated community response teams sharing her Deaf perspective.

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Shannon Going
01/21/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Serving Trafficking Victims in Immigrant Communities

Shannon Going is the Attorney Director of Casa Cornelia Law Center’s (CCLC’s) Human Trafficking Program, where she represents immigrants in visa applications for U and T nonimmigrant status based on labor trafficking and exploitation. Before joining CCLC, Ms. Going served as the Immigration Project Director and Staff Attorney for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation’s Labor and Civil Rights Litigation Project. Ms. Going has experience working with family-based immigration petitions, obtaining nonimmigrant status for qualifying victims of crime and trafficking, and state and federal employment litigation, with a focus on class action lawsuits on behalf of low-wage workers. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Carol Gomez, LCSW
01/21/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Serving Trafficking Victims in Immigrant Communities

Carol Gomez, LCSW, isa trauma-informed therapist and restorative justice mediator for youth and families. She counsels young people victimized by commercial sexual exploitation as part of a diversion program for trafficked children and adolescents initiated in 2014 in Los Angeles County. She also provides local and global anti-oppression and trauma-informed training, consultation, therapy, and coaching services through the Hearts and Minds Solidarity Counseling Project.

Ms. Gomez has more than two decades of experience working on issues related to violence against women, immigrant rights, victim services, and social justice community organization. She is the founder and former director of Matahari: Eye of the Day, an organization committed to building solidarity and creating community solutions for social justice and human rights. At Matahari, she managed multidisciplinary teams and coordinated holistic care for immigrant survivors of human trafficking, domestic and sexual abuse, and other human rights violations.

Ms. Gomez has published and coauthored several reports and articles on supporting survivors of violence and trauma and creating community responses in the wake of trauma. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Boston College School of Social Work, and she guest lectures at campuses throughout Massachusetts. Ms. Gomez previously served on the boards of United for a Fair Economy and the Resist Foundation, and she was appointed to the Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Domestic and Sexual Violence. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Shamele Hill
02/11/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Building Resiliency in Child Abuse Organizations

Shamele Hill is the Director of Training and Community Engagement at the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in St. Louis, MO, where she helps develop and facilitate trainings and support groups and coordinates the "A Place to Call Home" news feature, in partnership with St. Louis’ NBC affiliate, KSDK News Channel 5. Ms. Hill has been involved in the field of social work for 15 years, and has extensive experience in working with victims, specifically children who have been abused and neglected and victims of domestic violence. Previously, Ms. Hill served as a case advocacy supervisor at Voices for Children, Inc., where she supervised court-appointed special advocates for children in the foster care system. She also served as one of the original Resiliency Coaches for the OVC-funded Resiliency Project, which developed and pilot-tested a program model that child abuse organizations can use to build resiliency in their employees and volunteers. Upon practicing the principles of resiliency, Ms. Hill developed the Employee Relations Committee within the Voices for Children agency. Mrs. Hill received a master of social work from Arizona State University and a master of human resource management from Lindenwood University. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Karin Ho
03/25/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Postconviction Exonerations and Victim Assistance

Karin Ho is the Program Administrator for the Critical Incident Stress Management Program for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. In this capacity she trains and coordinates a team within the juvenile correctional system to respond to staff who have experienced trauma in the line of duty and/or personally. She also provides direct services to crime victims through notification and victim advocacy. Ms. Ho provides many victim-related trainings, including how to investigate and respond to nonfatal strangulation.

Ms. Ho is the past Administrator of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s Office of Victim Services, a position she held 1995–2013. Ms. Ho oversaw direct services to crime victims, including victim notification, crisis intervention, victim safety planning, educational programming, and support through the death penalty clemency and execution witnessing processes. She was also the chairperson for the National Association of Victim Service Professionals in Corrections for 4 years. In this capacity, she served as a member of the national advisory board for the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification Program and has assisted in the development of national program standards.

She has conducted numerous national trainings on the impact of crime programming for offenders and on victim-offender dialogue, a process through which victims of violent crime may meet with their offenders. Prior to her career in corrections, Ms. Ho worked as a victim advocate in the sexual assault field for more than 10 years.

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Leah Holland
4/8/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Providing Appropriate Support for Military Victims of Sexual Assault

Ms. Holland served as the sexual assault response coordinator and domestic violence victim advocate coordinator for the U.S. Army Garrison, Yongsan, in South Korea. In this capacity, she coordinated the installation's 24-hour victim advocacy services, educated commands and service members on reporting options and responsibilities, coordinated events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and conducted healthy relationship classes.

Ms. Holland also worked as the program coordinator for the Pregnant and Parenting Women and Teens grant and the Survivors With Disabilities grant at the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) from 2011 to 2014. She oversaw grants addressing pregnant and parenting women, teen survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and survivors of sexual assault living in long-term care facilities; provided technical assistance and training; and collaborated with state partners. She also helped to develop multidisciplinary practice guidelines for legal, health, and social services to routinely and compassionately screen individuals for abuse and to make appropriate, culturally relevant referrals to local services. Ms. Holland holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Teresa Huizar
4/22/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Child Victims: Providing Effective Rights Enforcement Representation

Teresa Huizar was appointed the Executive Director of National Children's Alliance on February 26th, 2008. Prior to her tenure with NCA, Ms. Huizar served as the Executive Director of the Western Regional Children's Advocacy Center, a technical assistance and training center for 200 Children's Advocacy Centers and multidisciplinary teams in 12 Western states.

Over the course of her career, Ms. Huizar has headed two local Children's Advocacy Centers, coordinated Children's Advocacy Center efforts in the State of Colorado, conducted school-based child abuse prevention programs for more than 10,000 children, and facilitated psycho-educational groups for abused children. She also provides consultation internationally on effective child abuse intervention, most recently to the governments of Turkey and Peru.

Ms. Huizar has a special interest in public policy in the child welfare arena, especially in reducing child abuse fatalities and in the provision of trauma-focused, evidence-supported mental health treatment to child victims of abuse. Ms. Huizar has served on numerous related boards and committees over the years. She is currently a member of both the Advisory Board and Sexual Abuse Workgroup of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as well as the Steering Committee of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Karen Kalergis
02/11/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Building Resiliency in Child Abuse Organizations

Karen Kalergis has 22 years’ experience in victim services in government, nonprofit, and university settings. She is the President of Mani Partners Strategic Communications, a consulting practice that serves child welfare, victim services, and social justice agencies; and the Product Coordinator for the Vicarious Trauma Toolkit being developed and piloted by Northeastern University to address vicarious trauma in victim assistance providers and first responders. Ms. Kalergis also is a consultant for the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center, focusing on vicarious trauma and resiliency, crime victims’ rights, strategic planning, and state victim assistance academies. Ms. Kalergis’ interest in how victim services work affects practitioners dates back to 1991, when she helped Texas develop a state crisis response team to address not only the needs of victims, but the needs of first responders as well. She recently served as the project director for the OVC-funded Resiliency Project, which created and pilot-tested a program model that child abuse organizations can use to build resiliency in their employees and volunteers. Ms. Kalergis has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and communications. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Rebecca S.T. Khalil, J.D.
4/22/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Child Victims: Providing Effective Rights Enforcement Representation

Rebecca Khalil is a staff attorney with the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI), where she directed its Safeguarding Child-Victims’ Rights Initiative from 2010–2012. At NCVLI, Ms. Khalil researches victims’ rights laws and policies across the United States, drafts amicus briefs, provides technical legal assistance to attorneys and advocates nationwide, and creates and presents online and in-person trainings and webinars on a variety of victims’ rights topics.

In 2015, Ms. Khalil was nominated for the General George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award. Before joining NCVLI, Ms. Khalil was a litigation associate with Baker & Hostetler LLP in New York City, where she worked on a number of complex commercial and business litigations, including trade secret, securities, and contract cases, as well as white collar criminal defense, governmental and quasi-governmental matters, and corporate investigations. During law school, she was an extern with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Jose, CA. Ms. Khalil holds a B.A. in History from Seattle University and earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Cynthia King, LCSW, LISW
02/25/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Developing an Effective Multidisciplinary Team

Cynthia King, LCSW, LISW, it the President of King & Associates, Inc., where she oversees eight therapists treating victims of sexual abuse, non-offending parents, and sex offenders. Ms. King has 28 years of experience in assessment and treatment of juvenile and adult sex offenders, sexually reactive youth, and victims of sexual abuse and their families. She serves on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Sex Offender Assessment Board, where she conducts parole assessments for adults who commit sexual offenses against children; and also conducts sex offender assessments for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Her recent endeavors include individual treatment for males convicted of child pornography crimes.

For 20 years, Ms. King provided consultation to mental health professionals and agencies on providing therapeutic services to victims of sexual abuse, including consults for child advocacy centers (CACs) and child welfare agencies regarding their forensic interviews. Ms. King has written grants and numerous curricula on topics such as child sexual abuse, supervising sexual abuse cases, working with non-offending parents, assessing and treating juvenile and adult sex offenders, and psychological maltreatment of children. She also co-wrote and piloted a 6-month forensic interviewing program for caseworkers, which included a field observation component. Ms. King played an integral role in developing two CACs and a residential treatment program for sexually acting-out adjudicated youth.

Ms. King is on the Ohio Attorney General’s list of expert witnesses for child sexual abuse cases. She typically testifies regarding the disclosure process of children and the forensic interviews conducted by law enforcement officers and caseworkers. She is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and the National Association of Social Workers. Ms. King received a master’s degree in social administration from Case Western Reserve University.

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Ann McCarty
4/8/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Providing Appropriate Support for Military Victims of Sexual Assault

Ann McCarty is the Associate Director of the North County (California) Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center. She has worked with victims of sexual violence and interpersonal violence for more than 20 years. She has also helped conceptualize and develop programs to train professionals working with victims of violence. With her extensive knowledge of the military and its interactions with sexual assault survivors, Ms. McCarty has been instrumental in solidifying the partnership between Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) officials and the Sexual Assault Response Team of Santa Barbara County, California. She has trained numerous victim advocates through Vandenberg AFB’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. Ms. McCarty also developed an early training program with the Office of Special Investigations and has provided training to agents responsible for investigating sexual assaults of military members.

Ms. McCarty has been a member of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault Council and a representative for the Central Coast Region since 2003. She holds a bachelor of sciences degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business administration. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Katie Monroe
03/25/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Postconviction Exonerations and Victim Assistance

Katie Monroe serves as the Senior Advocate for National Partnerships at the Innocence Project. Ms. Monroe joined the Innocence Project in August 2012 as its first Senior Advocate for National Partnerships, located in Washington, DC. In this position, Ms. Monroe works with other key stakeholders, such as crime victims, police, and prosecutors, to build bridges and develop consensus around issues concerning the accuracy and reliability of the criminal justice system, and facilitate conversations with these other groups about the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions.

Prior to joining the Project, Ms. Monroe served as the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, covering innocence work and issues in Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. She was also an adjunct clinical professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, teaching students about wrongful convictions and overseeing casework. Previously, Ms. Monroe was Senior Counsel at the Constitution Project and served on the board of directors of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project. Ms. Monroe began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Bernard G. Barrow of the Virginia Court of Appeals and as an attorney for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She received her law degree from George Mason University. Ms. Monroe also currently serves on the board of directors of the National Innocence Network. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Dr. Cris M. Sullivan
05/05/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Building Your Own Body of Evidence-Based Knowledge

Dr. Cris M. Sullivan is the Director of the Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and Professor of Ecological/Community Psychology at Michigan State University (MSU). She was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to chair the Michigan Domestic & Sexual Violence Prevention & Treatment Board. She is also Senior Research Advisor to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Dr. Sullivan is internationally recognized for her expertise in evaluating domestic violence and sexual assault programs. In part because she ran an advocacy program herself for over 10 years, she understands many issues facing nonprofit programs and also understands how to safely and respectfully locate and interview survivors over time. Her reputation led the Family Violence Prevention & Services Administration (FVPSA) to enlist her help in 2006 in creating two outcomes that are now used by all FVPSA grantees across the county.

In 2012, Dr. Sullivan developed a Theory of Change describing the process through which domestic violence programs improve the lives of survivors and their children (www.dvevidenceproject.org). This model has been adopted nationally. She has written evaluation manuals for programs and provides trainings on this topic that are utilized by policymakers, academics, and service providers alike.  View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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