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  Challenges and Opportunities for Supporting Nontraditional Victims
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  Confidentiality for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma
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  Helping Incarcerated Victims of Crime
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  Integrating the Needs of LGBTQ Victims into Mainstream Victim Services
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  Model Standards for Serving Victims and Survivors of Crime
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  Outreach and Response to Teen Victims of Dating Violence
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  Results-Oriented Victim Services
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  Serving Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Victims in Tribal Communities
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  Serving Victims of Financial Fraud and Fraud Prevention
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  Support and Services for Drug-Endangered Children
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Guest Host Biographies Archive

OVC Web Forum Guest Host sessions offered an impressive roster of experts discussing best practices for a wide variety of victim issues from 2004-2016. You can read about past guest hosts here by clicking on their names.

A-E  |  F-L  |  M-R  |  S-Z


Ben Saunders, Ph.D.
07/20/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Integrating Evidence-Based Practices Into Victim Services

Ben Saunders, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where he also serves as Associate Director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center and Director of the Center’s Family and Child Program. As a licensed independent clinical social worker, his research, training, and clinical interests include the initial and long-term effects of violence and abuse on children and adolescents; the epidemiology of trauma, violence, and abuse; treatment approaches for abused children and their families; and effective methods for disseminating evidence-based practices. His work has been funded by several federal agencies, including the Office for Victims of Crime, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Justice, and the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. In 2001, Dr. Saunders received the Research Career Achievement Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. He is the co-director of Project BEST, a statewide dissemination project on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF–CBT), and a co-course director for two Web-based learning courses on this therapy—TF–CBT Web and CTG Web. Dr. Saunders received his doctorate of philosophy in clinical social work from Florida State University and holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Virginia Tech.

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Shell Schwartz
05/23/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Expanding Services for Crime Victims with Disabilities

Michelle “Shell” Schwartz is the Training Manager for Disability Services ASAP (A Safety Awareness Program) of SafePlace in Austin, Texas. She has more than 20 years of personal and professional experience advocating for the right to fair treatment and access to disability and victim services for people with physical, cognitive, and mental health disabilities. Ms. Schwartz has experience in community psychology in private and state-run counseling venues and in behavioral health and mental health organizations. She is the coauthor of Balancing the Power: Creating a Crisis Center Accessible to People with Disabilities and Beyond Labels: Working with Abuse Survivors with Mental Illness Symptoms or Substance Abuse Issues. She also speaks nationally about victimization issues as they relate to people with disabilities. Ms. Schwartz has a graduate degree in psychology. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Anne Seymour
03/07/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Making the Most of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

02/24/2010 online discussion host
Topic: Strategic Planning for Victim Service Leaders

01/30/2008 online discussion host
Topic: Cultivating Relationships Between Victim Service Providers and the Media

02/08/2006 online discussion host
Topic: NCVRW Awareness Campaign

Anne Seymour is Cofounder and Senior Advisor of Justice Solutions, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that specializes in criminal and juvenile justice, crime victims' rights and services, and community safety. She also is a consultant to the Pew Center on the States Public Safety Performance Project. Ms. Seymour has more than 29 years of experience as a national and international advocate for crime victims’ rights. She has authored or contributed to more than 30 OVC manuals and texts, including 20 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guides.

Ms. Seymour served as project manager for OVC’s Oral History Project and its National Public Awareness Campaign Project. She is a founding member of the National Victim Assistance Academy and a consultant to the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators. Ms. Seymour is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Victims’ Constitutional Amendment Network, the Board of Directors of the American Probation and Parole Association, and the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board.

Ms. Seymour has received numerous honors for her work, including the 2012 APPA Jo Kegans Award for Outstanding Victim Services, the 2011 Victim Advocacy Award from the National Crime Victim Law Institute, and the 1992 Outstanding Service to Crime Victims Award from President George H.W. Bush. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Debra Puglisi Sharp
11/05/2008 online discussion host
Topic: Empowering Victims to Triumph Over Tragedy

Debra Puglisi Sharp, R.N., is an inspirational speaker and the author of Shattered: Reclaiming A Life Torn Apart By Violence. In 1998, Ms. Puglisi Sharp was abducted and held captive for 101 hours, during which she was repeatedly raped, by an intruder who fatally shot her husband in their home. She now serves on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Victims in Action and is a member of the National Organization for Victim Assistance. She is a Rape Crisis Volunteer for Contact Lifeline and raises public awareness of sexual assault through the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware.

Ms. Puglisi Sharp previously served as the public representative for the 911 Enhancement Board in Delaware. She has appeared on regional and national talk shows including Oprah, 20/20, Montel, The John Walsh Show, and A&E Biography to speak about surviving a traumatic event. In 2007, Ms. Puglisi Sharp was presented with the U.S. Attorney General’s Special Courage Award through the Office for Victims of Crime. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Viki Sharp
02/24/2010 online discussion host
Topic: Strategic Planning for Victim Service Leaders

07/06/2005 online discussion host
Topic: Compassion Fatigue

Viki Sharp spent 30 years as a crime victim advocate and is now retired and pursuing her passion for educating and training. She was appointed program director of the Pima County Attorney’s Victim Witness Program in 1985 and led the program to international acclaim during her tenure. As the employee assistance program administrator for the Arizona Department of Corrections, Ms. Sharp was responsible for creating and overseeing prevention and crisis response programs for more than 10,000 employees. As a consultant for the National District Attorney’s Association and the Office for Victims of Crime, Ms. Sharp helped establish and expand victim services throughout the country and provided extensive training in crisis intervention, communication, vicarious trauma, team building, and victimology to law enforcement and victim service providers. She also served several terms on the executive boards of the Arizona Coalition for Victim Services and the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Ms. Sharp’s numerous accolades include a Presidential Award for victim advocacy, 1997 University of Arizona Alumni of the Year, the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, the Rudolph Dreikurs Community Service Award, the FBI Community Service Award, and the Optimist Club Respect for Law Award. Ms. Sharp received her bachelor of science degree in education and master’s degree of education in counseling and guidance from the University of Arizona. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Joselle Shea
06/22/2006 online discussion host
Topic: Internet Safety and Identity Theft

Joselle Shea is manager of children and youth initiatives at the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), where she oversees several youth programs, including the Youth Outreach for Victim Assistance (YOVA) project and McGruff Club. Working with the National Center for Victims of Crime, Ms. Shea has provided training and support to 40 YOVA sites throughout the country. She is also working with several schools and Boys & Girls Clubs to pilot the new McGruff Club program. The club educates elementary-age children about personal safety and engages them in service projects to make their communities safer. Ms. Shea also conducts training sessions and workshops for law enforcement officers, educators, counselors, and youth on NCPC’s Community Works and Youth Safety Corps programs, and on issues including bullying and community safety.

She has written several publications, including Designing Safe Spaces, How To Help McGruff!, and Get the Message!, which give educators activities for teaching children about negative peer pressure, bullying, respecting diversity, home-alone safety, violence in the media, and other safety issues. Ms. Shea has been interviewed by national and local media groups, including Nick Jr. Magazine and "I" On Washington, D.C. She has helped develop research studies and public service advertising campaigns on bullying and cyberbullying. Ms. Shea also cochaired a working group for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Stop Bullying Now! campaign, and continues to provide the agency with technical assistance regarding bullying. Ms. Shea holds a master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Jennifer Shewmake
03/29/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Transforming Victim Services in the 21st Century

Jennifer Shewmake is the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center Project Director for the Vision 21 Initiative, a collaborative effort with the Office for Victims of Crime to address emerging challenges within the crime victim services field in order to expand the field’s vision and impact. In 2008, Ms. Shewmake was awarded a fellowship by the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington to participate in the Future Executive Director Leadership Program. She previously served as the grants manager and the social enterprise director for the LAYC Family of Organizations, a network of youth centers, schools, and social enterprises in Washington, D.C., that are committed to helping young people become successful adults with the skills they need to succeed educationally, professionally, and personally. Ms. Shewmake holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and community development from the University of Kansas. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Joyce Siegel

12/9/15 online discussion cohost
Topic: Using Volunteers Effectively

Joyce Siegel, L.M.S.W., has been the Program Director for Sexual Assault Services of Calhoun County (Michigan) since 1998. She served as the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Board President from 2006-2011. Ms. Siegel has extensive expertise and experience in program development, implementation, and service delivery for sexual assault victims and the community. She also has expertise in child sexual abuse, including experience developing the Child Advocacy Center in Calhoun County. She trains and supervises staff, volunteers, and community members to work in partnership to provide a comprehensive coordinated response to sexual assault survivors throughout Calhoun County.

She has worked as an adjunct professor with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at Western Michigan University and continues to mentor university student interns at the agency. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work from Western Michigan University.

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Steven Siegel
10/15/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Responding to and Avoiding Crime Using Technology


11/30/2004 online discussion host
Topic: Faith-Based Programs

Steven Siegel is the Director of the Special Programs Unit of the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Throughout his 36-year career, he has been a catalyst for the development of interagency protocols that have been replicated nationwide on issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and the victimization of elderly and disabled individuals. Mr. Siegel has been integral to the development and operation of such programs as the Denver Anti-Trafficking Alliance, the DNA Cold Case Project, the Colorado Justice Review Project, and the Victim Services Network.

Mr. Siegel served as director of program development for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, and as administrator of the Denver Victim Assistance Law and Enforcement Board for more than 20 years. He also served on the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime’s National Consortium Board, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Global Justice Information Technology Task Force. Mr. Siegel has provided consultation services and training for several organizations, including the National Organization for Victim Assistance, the National Center for Victims of Crime, and the National Victim Assistance Academy.  He has presented and been published nationally and internationally on the subject of family violence, criminal victimization, community intervention, and non-profit development and management. Mr. Siegel is the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2006 National Crime Victims’ Service Award. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Avy Skolnik
06/24/2009 online discussion host
Topic: Working with LGBTIQ Survivors of Violence

Avy Skolnik is the Coordinator for Statewide and National Programs at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which serves New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, and queer (LGBTIQ) communities. He also facilitates the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a network of grassroots organizations dedicated to ending violence against LGBTIQ people; and serves as the coordinator for the New York State LGBT Domestic Violence Network. In addition, Mr. Skolnik provides training and technical assistance to community groups, schools, hospitals, clinics, and law enforcement on LGBTIQ violence-related issues, including intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and bias-motivated violence. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Katya Fels Smyth
08/26/2009 online discussion host
Topic: Responding to Homeless Victims of Sexual Assault

Katya Fels Smyth is founder and principal of the Full Frame Initiative, a campaign to ensure that the most marginalized individuals, families, and communities throughout the country receive the tools, support, resources, and services they need to thrive. She has two decades of experience in program development and services, community networking, and creating social will to address seemingly intractable social problems; and is a research fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Prior to launching the initiative in 2007, Ms. Smyth founded On The Rise, Inc., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a fellow of the Echoing Green Foundation. On The Rise, Inc. provides innovative and effective support and community to the area’s most disenfranchised women. During her 11 years as its director, the organization helped more than 1,000 women to achieve new levels of safety and personal agency, and changed the community’s dialogue about who can be helped.

Ms. Smyth speaks and consults nationally on the design and implementation of programs that work with highly marginalized women, and has participated in training efforts for domestic violence advocates in Japan and the Czech Republic. She is a Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Clark University’s Graduate School of Management, where she is helping to develop its new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, and a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, where she co-chairs the System Change and Integration Committee. She also is a fellow with the Eos Foundation, where she advises on their urban anti-poverty effort, Boston Rising.

Ms. Smyth and the organizations she has founded have been profiled in numerous local and national publications. She was named 1 of 5 "Moms Who Change the World" by Working Mother magazine in 2006; recognized as an "Agent of Change" in the 22d edition of Government by the People; profiled in the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2002; and named 1 of 125 women leaders in Massachusetts by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union.

Ms. Smyth holds an artium baccalaureate in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University and an honorary doctorate of divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Regina Sobieski
12/05/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Working with Victims of Gang Violence

Regina Sobieski is a licensed social worker and certified trauma specialist, and an international facilitator for victims’ rights, victim legislation, and criminal justice policies and protocols. She is well known for her research in victim participation and satisfaction with the criminal justice system, juvenile justice issues, and international law enforcement efforts. Since 2006, Ms. Sobieski has served as a contractual project director for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Texas, Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) and Anti-Gang Initiatives. She has developed a strong anti-gang/anti-violence strategy for the district and provided evidence-based anti-gang/anti-violence programming to more than 3,000 youth. She also has collaborated with the National Youth Gang Center and the American Probation and Parole Association in developing standardized manuals to assist communities in implementing their own strategies to combat gang and violent crime.

Ms. Sobieski has presented on gang-related violence and delinquency, prevention programming, and reentry efforts at numerous national conferences and training events. As a trainer and consultant for the Office for Victims of Crime since 1996, Ms. Sobieski provides training and technical assistance to improve service delivery and encourage the use of promising strategies to reduce crime and delinquency, improve educational outcomes, and bolster community cooperation and involvement. She also conducts bimonthly anti-gang initiative meetings with community service providers; local and federal law enforcement officials; and community, business, and educational partners.

Ms. Sobieski earned a master of criminal justice science degree from the University of North Texas. She also is a graduate of the Northern District of Texas Citizen’s FBI Academy.

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Victoria Sostack
10/22/2008 online discussion host
Topic: Implementing and Operating Address Confidentiality Programs

Victoria Sostack is a licensed social worker and the director of victim services at the Pennsylvania Office of the Victim Advocate, where she oversees crisis intervention, support, post-sentencing parole notification, and input services for more than 30,000 registered crime victims. For the past 4 years, she has led the development of Pennsylvania’s Address Confidentiality Program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Ms. Sostack has received advanced community crisis responder training and is a mediator in crimes of severe violence. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Keystone Crisis Intervention Team and is on the board of directors of the Coalition of Pennsylvania Crime Victim Organizations.

Ms. Sostack has participated in several statewide projects, including the Advisory Task Force on Geriatric and Seriously Ill Inmates, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Victim Rights Subcommittee, and the Sex Offenders Assessment Board’s Sex Offender Management Team. She previously served as a counselor/advocate at the Domestic Violence Service Center in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Temple University. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Cindy Southworth
10/15/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Responding to and Avoiding Crime Using Technology

05/24/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Using Social Media to Assist Crime Victims

01/21/2009 online discussion host
Topic: Addressing Technology and Stalking

Cindy Southworth is the Vice President of Development and Innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), where she leads the network’s communications, development, technology, and international efforts. Ms. Southworth joined NNEDV in 2002, when she founded the Safety Net Project to address all aspects of technology as it relates to violence against women. The Safety Net Team works with private industry, state and federal agencies, and international groups to improve safety and privacy for victims in the digital age; and is one of five organizations on the Facebook Safety Advisory Board. Ms. Southworth is on the advisory boards of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the Computers Freedom and Privacy Conference, and MTV’s A Thin Line campaign to stop digital abuse. She also is a member of the Airbnb Trust Advisory Board.

For 24 years, Ms. Southworth has worked at the national, state, and local levels to end violence against women. She has spent the past 16 years focusing on how technology can be used to increase victim safety and how to hold stalkers accountable for their misuse of technology. Ms. Southworth has testified before Congress and is on many task forces and committees that address justice, privacy, technology, and safety. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of New England. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Dr. Patricia Speck
04/07/2006 online discussion co-host
Topic: Assisting Victims of Sexual Assault Through a Multidisciplinary Response

Patricia M. Speck, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized family nurse practitioner and an expert in sexual assault forensic nursing. She is certified as a family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse, and sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) in the care of adults, adolescents, and children. For more than 20 years, Dr. Speck has practiced as a forensic nurse and family nurse practitioner. She also has been a consultant on the practice and policy of these specialties and on the education of forensic nurses. She has served as a consultant for victim service organizations worldwide, including the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women and Office for Victims of Crime, on how to prevent, identify, and treat sexual and domestic violence between individuals, in families, and in communities.

Dr. Speck is the Chief Executive Officer of Shelby International and the Executive Director of Forensic Nursing Services. She lectures internationally and has received more than 20 local, national, and international awards. She earned her doctorate in public health nursing with a forensic nursing emphasis from the University of Tennessee in Memphis, where her research focused on developing a validated tool for SANE programs to use to continuously evaluate their growth and progress.

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Sharon Stapel
06/05/2013 online discussion host
Topic: Incorporating LGBTQ Victims Needs into Mainstream Victim Services

Sharon Stapel is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), an organization dedicated to ending hate, sexual, and intimate partner violence affecting people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ), and HIV-affected communities. She also is a consultant on LGBTQ issues for the Office for Victims of Crime. AVP coordinates the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), which comprises more than 40 LGBTQ-specific anti-violence programs. NCAVP also coordinates the National LGBTQ Training and Technical Assistance Center, which Ms. Stapel helped create in coordination with the Office on Violence Against Women.

Ms. Stapel is a member of the LGBT Advisory Committee to the NYPD and the NYC Family Court Advisory Council to the Administrative Judge Committee for LGBT Matters. She also is a member of various national stakeholder groups that address the inclusion of LGBTQ individuals in services provided for crime victims and survivors at local, state, and federal levels. Prior to joining AVP, Ms. Stapel directed legal programs specializing in domestic violence 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. Ms. Stapel 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. In 2011, Ms. Stapel was named a White House Champion of Change for her work regarding LGBTQ intimate partner violence. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Bette Stebbins
09/13/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Using Online Communications to Assist Crime Victims in the Military

Bette Stebbins, MSCP, CA, is the Senior Victim Care Advisor for the Department of Defense (DoD), Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, and has been serving military crime victims since 1995. She is considered a subject matter expert on crime victim care in the military jurisdiction and advises several national organizations that assist military victims of crime. Ms. Stebbins has served as the senior victim specialist on two congressionally mandated Defense Task Forces—Sexual Assault in the Military Services and Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies. For nearly 10 years, she was the victim-witness assistance program manager and a paralegal with the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii.

Ms. Stebbins has received numerous awards for her work in developing the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the U.S. Army in Hawaii, and for helping to establish the DoD Safe Helpline—the Nation’s first confidential hotline resource for military victims of sexual assault. She also was named Federal Employee of the Year for the U.S. Army, Pacific Region.

Ms. Stebbins holds a Master of Sciences degree in counseling psychology from Chaminade University, Hawaii. She also holds a paralegal certification from Brigham Young University and is a Credentialed Advanced Advocate with the designation of Comprehensive Victim Intervention Specialist from the National Advocate Credentialing Program.

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Danny Stewart
01/22/2013 online discussion host
Topic: Providing Services to Runaway Youth and Victims of Human Trafficking

Danny Stewart is the Director of Operations for Safe Horizon's Streetwork Project, which provides services to homeless and street-involved youth and young adults. Mr. Stewart provides administrative oversight of federal, state, city, and foundation grants for homeless youth drop-in center programs. He also is responsible for developing, coordinating, and implementing program quality assurance and improvement activities; managing all evaluation projects; and facilitating monthly committee meetings.

Mr. Stewart became involved in non-profit social services in 1993, providing psychotherapy to individuals living with HIV and their care-partners, and co-facilitating a female sexual abuse recovery group with residential treatment facility adolescents. He previously served as the Assistant Director of Clinical Services at Hetrick-Martin Institute, a social service agency for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. He also worked at the Gay Men's Health Crisis and as a volunteer facilitator for a psychotherapeutic AIDS support group.

Mr. Stewart received a bachelor of arts degree in behavioral science and a master's degree in family psychology from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He received a master of social work degree and a seminar in field supervision certification from Hunter College in New York. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Jennifer Stith
02/25/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Serving Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Jennifer Stith is Executive Director of WINGS Foundation, Inc., an organization in Denver, Colorado, that provides education, advocacy, and support to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and their loved ones. Ms. Stith works with partners in the domestic violence, sexual assault, child advocacy, and health care fields to increase awareness about the need to address CSA-related trauma in adult survivors’ lives in order to restore their overall health, well-being, and ability to thrive. She also helped plan the organization’s first conference focused on healing for adult survivors of CSA, in partnership with the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect in Aurora, Colorado, which will be held again this year. Ms. Stith recently copublished the two-part article "What Are You Afraid to Miss?" in Louisville Medicine, the journal of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, highlighting childhood sexual abuse as a public health pandemic affecting both pediatric and adult populations.

Ms. Stith has 13 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership and development, primarily in pediatric health care. The challenges she encountered in accessing services to heal from her own experience of CSA trauma as an adult led her to pursue a master’s degree in women’s and gender studies at the University of Louisville and, later, a graduate assistantship with its Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. She also earned a certificate in Jungian studies/analytical psychotherapy at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago. Ms. Stith holds a master of arts degree in teaching from Bellarmine University in Louisville, and a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Western Kentucky University. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Hollie Strand
04/29/2009 online discussion host
Topic: Forensic Interviewing in Tribal Communities

Hollie Strand, MFS, is a forensic interviewer for the Child Advocacy Center of the Black Hills in Rapid City, South Dakota, where she serves local, state, federal, and tribal jurisdictions. A licensed professional counselor, she owns a private counseling agency that, through a contract with the state, provides individual and group cognitive-behavioral therapy for individuals on probation. Ms. Strand previously worked as a certified law enforcement officer for the Martin Police Department on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where she continues to serve as a contract consultant. She has held several counseling positions in South Dakota, Nevada, and Nebraska, and has worked in outpatient programs as well as correctional institutions, including the Inpatient Sex Offender Treatment Program at Lincoln Correctional Center’s maximum security prison.

Ms. Strand was a member of the Sex Offender Management Team of Nevada and continues to sit on committees and multidisciplinary teams committed to protecting children, families, and communities. She received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in psychology from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, her master’s degree in agency counseling from South Dakota State University, and her master’s in forensic science from Nebraska Wesleyan University. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Dr. Cris M. Sullivan
05/05/2015 online discussion cohost
Topic: Build 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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Robin Hassler Thompson
03/06/2013 online discussion host
Topic: Meeting the Legal Needs of Adult and Minor Victims of Human Trafficking

Robin Hassler Thompson, M.A., J.D., consults with universities, state and national public policy and human rights advocacy groups, and international law firms on issues related to human trafficking and domestic and sexual violence law and policy analysis, Violence Against Women Act implementation, adult domestic violence, workplace violence, and health care issues. She has lectured extensively on the topics of human trafficking and violence against women, and is a contributor to numerous national and international publications and curricula, including an online continuing medical education course on domestic violence and human trafficking for the Florida Medical Association.

Ms. Thompson has served and held leadership positions on local, state, and national boards, committees, and task forces. She was the executive director of Florida’s first Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence from 1993–98; and, at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, has served on the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women. Ms. Thompson currently chairs the Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls in Tallahassee, Florida.

Ms. Thompson received her law degree from Florida State University’s College of Law. She holds a master of arts degree from Florida State University and a bachelor of arts degree from American University in Washington, D.C., where she graduated summa cum laude. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Catherine Thurston

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

Catherine 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.

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Steven Toporoff
04/10/2013 online discussion host
Topic: Child Welfare Agencies Responding to Child Identity Theft

Steven Toporoff is an attorney for the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he focuses on identity protection issues. He also serves as vice chair of FTC’s privacy steering committee and participates on various federal task forces and outreach efforts regarding privacy, identity protection, and victim assistance. Prior to joining the division, Mr. Toporoff was on detail to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, where he worked on privacy initiatives. He also worked for 20 years in FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices, where he focused on anti-fraud work. Mr. Toporoff is frequently engaged as a speaker and has advised foreign governments, federal agencies, and states on privacy, identity protection, and anti-fraud matters. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Elise Turner
04/26/2007 online discussion co-host
Topic: Sexual Assault Response Teams

Elise Turner is both a certified Nurse-Midwife and a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), and she provides SANE training in Mississippi. With more than 25 years of experience in nursing and women’s health, she is the Education Coordinator for the Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and she works with law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and others who serve victims of sexual assault. She is a faculty member of the Emory University Regional Training Center, and she conducts sexual assault training workshops for the Jackson Police Academy, Jackson State University School of Public Health, and Navy, Air Force, and Army bases. Working with the U.S. Department of Justice, Ms. Turner recently taught courses to judges, prosecutors, physicians, and advocates on the forensic and medical aspects of sex crimes in Kosovo and Macedonia.

Active in the International Association of Forensic Nurses, Ms. Turner chairs its Ethics Committee and serves on its SANE–A Education Standards Committee. She also is on the SANE Coordinators’ National Conference Steering Committee. Ms. Turner is experienced in grant writing and administration and continues to contribute to health systems development in areas of women’s health, perinatal care, and forensic nursing. She has participated in distance-learning products such as video Web casts and has helped communities form sexual assault response teams. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Steve Twist
10/10/2007 online discussion host
Topic: Crime Victims’ Rights Act

08/31/2005 online discussion host
Topic: Victims’ Rights

Steve Twist has worked to promote victims’ rights for more than 30 years, providing assistance to Congress, state legislatures, tribal governments, and local organizations in drafting, passing, and implementing victims’ rights statutes and amendments. He currently serves as Vice President and General Counsel for Services Group of America, Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona; Counsel to National Victims Constitutional Amendment Project; President (and founder) of Arizona Voice for Crime Victims; Vice President for Public Policy for the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA), and a 2003 recipient of the National Crime Victims Service Award. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University College of Law, where he is a founder of the school’s Crime Victims Legal Assistance Project—a project providing free legal representation to crime victims seeking to protect their legal rights.

Mr. Twist serves on the national boards of NOVA and the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children. He has extensive experience litigating cases to enforce victims’ rights, has testified before Congress on the need for a federal crime victims’ rights amendment, and has spoken extensively on drafting, lobbying, and enforcing victims’ rights laws. Mr. Twist is a principal author of the Scott Campbell, Stephanie Roper, Wendy Preston, Louarna Gillis, Nila Lynn Crime Victims Rights Act (HR 5107, Title 1) and author of the Arizona constitutional amendment for victims’ rights and the Arizona Victims’ Rights Implementation Act. His testimony and other selected writings are available at www.nvcap.org. Mr. Twist earned both his bachelor of arts in political science and his juris doctor from Arizona State University. Along with Federal District Court Judge Paul Cassell and Prof. Douglas Beloof, he is the co-author of Victims in Criminal Procedure (Carolina Academic Press, 2006), a textbook in crime victim’s rights law. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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David Uhlmann
08/10/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Responding to Victims of Environmental Crime

David Uhlmann is the Jeffrey F. Liss Professor From Practice and Director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program at the University of Michigan Law School. Professor Uhlmann has testified before Congress, appeared on national news programs, and lectured widely about environmental crime and sustainability issues. His research and advocacy interests include criminal and civil enforcement of environmental laws, worker endangerment, and efforts to address global climate change. Professor Uhlmann is the author of a Michigan Law Review article on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and has published articles in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Utah Law Review, Environmental Law Forum, The New York Times, and the American Constitution Society’s Issue Briefs series.

Prior to joining the University of Michigan Law School faculty in 2007, Professor Uhlmann served for 17 years at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), including 7 years as chief of the Environmental Crimes Section, where he was the top environmental crimes prosecutor in the country. In addition to managing approximately 40 prosecutors responsible for prosecuting environmental and wildlife crimes nationwide, Professor Uhlmann coordinated national legislative, policy, and training initiatives regarding criminal enforcement. He also chaired DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Policy Committee, was vice chair of the annual American Bar Association Environmental Law Conference, and was on the planning committee for the joint American Law Institute-American Bar Association Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws Seminar.

Professor Uhlmann earned a juris doctorate from Yale Law School and a bachelor of arts degree in history from Swarthmore College. Following law school, Professor Uhlmann clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marvin H. Shoob in Atlanta, Georgia. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Roberta Valente, J.D.
10/26/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Understanding Firearms Laws to Assist Domestic Violence Victims

Roberta Valente, J.D., is a consultant on legislative, family violence, and firearms issues for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She also serves as a consultant to the Domestic Violence Resource Network, advising them on policy issues in the domestic violence field, in particular, those regarding her specialized interests in protection order enforcement, child custody issues, federal laws and interventions, and tribal issues related to domestic violence. Ms. Valente was the founding Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic Violence in 1994, and received its Sharon Corbitt Award in 2011 for her exemplary service in the field. She also is the author of several articles on domestic violence issues and family law.

Ms. Valente served as General Counsel for the National Network to End Domestic Violence from 2009 to 2011, and as Assistant Director of the Family Violence Department of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that, she was a consultant and advisor on civil legal issues regarding domestic violence for various organizations, including the Alaska Native Women’s Coalition, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Ms. Valente was one of the lead coordinators of the legislative work to develop the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 as well as its upcoming reauthorization in 2011. Ms. Valente served as Attorney Advisor to the Office on Violence Against Women and, prior to that, worked for AYUDA, Inc., a legal services program for battered immigrants.

In 2009, Ms. Valente received the National Congress of American Indians’ Public Sector Leadership Award for working with American Indian women to obtain additional resources and the authority necessary to bring safety and justice to Native communities. Ms. Valente received her juris doctorate from George Washington University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Maryland, and before the Federal Circuit.

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Ana Isabel Vallejo, J.D./LL.M.
09/19/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Responding to Latina/o Victims of Crime

Ana Vallejo is the Cofounder and Codirector of VIDA Legal Assistance Inc., a nonprofit organization working to advance the rights of immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other violent crimes. She also is an attorney for the organization and the project coordinator for the Human Trafficking Academy of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida. Ms. Vallejo has provided legal representation for victims of human trafficking for the past 10 years. She has worked tirelessly in collaboration with the Criminal Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to ensure that victims of trafficking have access to the rights and services afforded to them by the criminal justice system.

Previously, Ms. Vallejo was a staff attorney at St. Thomas University Human Rights Institute, where she represented hundreds of victims of human rights violations seeking protection in the United States. She also served as a supervising attorney for LUCHA: A Women’s Legal Project at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, representing low-income immigrant women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. Ms. Vallejo received her bachelor of arts degree in political science and international affairs from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her juris doctorate and her master of laws degree in intercultural human rights law from St. Thomas University School of Law. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Sheri Vanino, PsyD
02/25/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Serving Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Sheri Vanino is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with victims of trauma and sexual assault. In addition to her private therapy practice, Dr. Vanino provides psychological assessments for the Lutheran Hospital Emergency Department in Denver, Colorado. She also provides expert testimony on sexual assault cases and provides training both locally and nationally on the topics of sexual assault and trauma. From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Vanino served as Director of Victim Services and Counseling Director for the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program in Colorado. Previously, she worked as an advocate for the Colorado Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office and as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver. Ms. Vanino also helped cofound the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center and Victim Justice, both in Colorado. Dr. Vanino earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University in California and a master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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James Vann, J.D.
10/26/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Understanding Firearms Laws to Assist Domestic Violence Victims

James Vann, J.D., serves as Division Counsel for the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In addition to representing ATF at revocation hearings for firearms and explosives licenses, Mr. Vann provides legal advice to agents and investigators on criminal and regulatory matters involving the Gun Control Act, the National Firearms Act, the Safe Explosives Act, and other areas where ATF has jurisdiction. Mr. Vann also has been designated as a Special Assistance United States Attorney in jurisdictions throughout the country to assist in the prosecution of firearms cases.

Mr. Vann began his legal career as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Virginia. He became a Project Exile attorney after the first year, focusing solely on the prosecution of gun crimes. Mr. Vann received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and his juris doctorate from William and Mary School of Law.

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Victor Vieth
03/26/2008 online discussion host
Topic: Preparing Victim Service Providers and Children for Court

Victor Vieth is the Director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State University, which provides training and technical assistance on dependency, neglect, and termination of parental rights in child abuse cases, and which merged with the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children (NAPSAC) in 2007. Previously, Mr. Vieth was the Director of Child Abuse Programs at the National District Attorneys Association. He is also the author of “Unto the Third Generation: A Call to End Child Abuse in the United States Within 120 Years,” which was published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma in 2005, as well as numerous articles related to the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. He has trained professionals from all 50 states, 2 U.S. territories, and 17 countries on these topics.

In 1998, Mr. Vieth launched “Finding Words: Interviewing Children and Preparing for Court,” a course he designed to teach the CornerHouse Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center’s RATAC protocol (rapport, anatomy identification, touch inquiry, abuse scenario, and closure). The overwhelming response to the course led to the creation of “Half-A-Nation by 2010,” an effort to establish Finding Words programs in half the U.S. states by 2010. As of December 2007, courses have been established in 19 states, under the guidance of CornerHouse and the National District Attorneys Association. A newsletter by the same name is also published for the program.

Mr. Vieth has received distinguished alumnus awards from Minnesota’s Hamline University School of Law in Saint Paul and Winona State University in Winona, and has been named one of “21 Young Lawyers Leading Us Into the 21 st Century” by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. He has also been listed on the American Bar Association’s President’s Honor Roll for its Young Lawyers Division. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Rebecca Waggoner
06/06/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Understanding Violence Against Transgender Individuals

Rebecca Waggoner is the Director of OutFront Minnesota’s Anti-Violence Program, where she manages all program-related activities including developing effective services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) crime victims, staffing the 24-hour crisis hotline, and providing individual crisis counseling and advocacy services to victims. She is also responsible for developing program-related training curricula on topics such as domestic violence, hate/bias crimes, and creating safe community responses to LGBTQ victims of crime. Waggoner has worked extensively with anti-violence focused, community-based programs for more than 15 years. She has expertise in sexual assault and domestic violence, and has worked at every level of program development and management.

Waggoner sits on several community boards and advisory committees including the St. Paul Police Chief’s Community Advisory Board, the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault Board of Directors and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ Governance Committee. She also is the author of the handbook, "The Accidental Lobbyist: Grassroots Organizing in Minnesota." She holds a bachelor of arts degree in women’s studies with an emphasis in public policy from the University of Minnesota. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Steven D. Walker
12/08/2009 online discussion host
Topic: Examining Correlations Between Substance Abuse and Victimization

Steven Walker, Ph.D., is Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences at California State University (CSU), Fresno, where he previously served as chair of the Criminology Department. As a licensed clinical psychologist and an educator, he has 25 years of experience developing victim service education programs, and has conducted numerous workshops on alcohol and drug treatment, victim services, and victim service education standards. Dr. Walker coauthored the original proposal for the establishment of the National Victim Assistance Academy, and has been a consultant to numerous states on the development of State Victim Assistance Academies and standards in victim services. He has directed several drug treatment programs, including the Comprehensive Alcohol Program of Fresno, CA, and the Kings View/Kingsburg Hospital Alcohol & Drug Program; and was a consultant for the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program at Lemoore Naval Air Station, among other organizations. He currently serves on the California Victim Assistance Academy Project Team, as well as the Executive Board of the Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies.

Dr. Walker expanded the Victim Services Certificate program and created the first Victim Services Summer Institute in 1989. He designed and implemented the first victimology major in the United States at CSU, Fresno, in 1992; and subsequently created the victim services major at Kansas City Kansas Community College and assisted in developing the victim/survivor services major at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. These programs represent three of the five complete victim service education programs in the United States. Dr. Walker was the founding Vice President of the American Society for Victimology from 2003 to 2006, and for a number of years, he facilitated the development of the first doctorate in victimology.

In 2000, Dr. Walker was 1 of 15 professionals in the United States to be part of the National Victim Assistance Standards Consortium and to help develop its Standards for Victim Assistance Programs and Providers. In 2006, the U.S. Navy honored Dr. Walker as Preceptor of the Year for his clinical supervision of the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program at Lemoore Naval Air Station. In 2008, he received the Allied Professional Award from the Office for Victims of Crime during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Corey Walz
01/29/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Implications of Human Trafficking Federal Strategic Action Plan

Corey Walz is the Special Assistant to the Chair of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking. In this role, Mr. Walz is helping to update the Blue Campaign Web site and promotional materials. He also led a team of special assistants in the latest iteration of the Joint Stakeholder Engagement Event with the Council on Combating Violence Against Women. Mr. Walz cochairs the Strategic Action Plan on Services to Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mr. Walz previously served as a program analyst with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Grant Program Directorate, where he managed grants for the Homeland Security Grant Program for his assigned states. He also worked as a senior program analyst at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Mr. Walz received a master of sciences degree in international affairs and a bachelor of sciences degree in criminology and criminal justice from Florida State University.

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Mary E. Wambach

07/22/15 online discussion host
Topic: Addressing Communication Barriers When Serving Crime Victims

Mary E. Wambach, originally from Rochester, NY, comes from a family of 7 children, several of which are deaf or hard of hearing. Her expertise includes general disability, deafness and hearing loss, developmental delays, and Autism Spectrum Disorder for both children and adults. Shortly after obtaining her degree in psychology, she began work on Deafness and Disability Rights. Skilled at working with people with diverse disabilities and from assorted groups and cultures, she has administered several nonprofit organizations in New York City and Poughkeepsie, NY; Boston, MA; Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA; and in Texas. Her ability to empower others and foster a stewardship model among agency staff, stakeholders, and boards is the cornerstone of her work.

Currently, Ms. Wambach is consulting with Satdaya Studios – a deaf owned tech and creative service agency. She holds memberships in the Coordinated Community Response Coalition Board in Corpus Christi, the City of Corpus Christi Committee for People with Disabilities, and the National Disability-Abuse/CAN DO panel. She is published in i.d.e.a.l. Magazine, American Prosecutors Research Institute Updates, and other national publications. She has trained close to 5,000 law enforcement and other professionals through SafePlace-Austin; the Disability-Abuse Project; the National District Attorneys Association; and her other affiliations. She has also presented about pedophiles and fetishists who target, groom, and abuse children and adults with disabilities, often without any intervention from families or authorities. Her training includes performance (stage, radio, and TV) and the fields of domestic violence, sexual assault, mediation, multiculturalism, community organizing, and advocacy.

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Carole Warshaw, MD
12/08/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care Principles Into Practice: December 8

Carole Warshaw, M.D., is Director of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (the Center), a project of the Chicago-based Domestic Violence & Mental Health Policy Initiative, of which Dr. Warshaw is Executive Director. The Center develops comprehensive, accessible, and culturally relevant responses to trauma- and mental health-related issues to enhance the capacity of local, state, and national service providers to deliver mental health services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. Dr. Warshaw is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois and a member of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Services. Dr. Warshaw speaks about domestic violence, trauma, mental health, and psychiatric disabilities nationally and internationally, and has published numerous articles and chapters on these issues. She has served on the National Research Council Committee on the Assessment of Family Violence Interventions, the American Medical Association’s National Advisory Council on Family Violence, and the Family Violence and Abuse and Childhood Trauma committees of the American Psychiatric Association.

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Lydia Watts, Esq.
03/12/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Addressing the Holistic Needs of Crime Victims

Lydia Watts, Esq., is the Deputy Director of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission, which works to address barriers to the justice system that low- and moderate-income people face in Washington, D.C. She also is Principal of Greater Good Consulting in Massachusetts, which specializes in not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Watts is the founding Board Chair of the Network for Victim Recovery of DC, a provider of holistic services for victims of crime in the District, and a founding board member of Amy’s Treat, a not-for-profit foundation that benefits cancer patients at the Seacoast Cancer Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She is also on the board of directors of the District Alliance for Safe Housing and Mentoring Today, also in D.C.

Ms. Watts is the cofounder and former executive director of Washington, D.C.’s Women Empowered Against Violence, Inc. (WEAVE), which provides an innovative range of services to the city’s teen and adult victims of domestic violence. She previously served as director of quality and program enhancement for the Civil Division of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, a national association of legal service providers and public defenders who offer their services at no charge to those in need. She also served as executive director of the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. Ms. Watts graduated from American University’s Washington College of Law and received a bachelor of English degree from Boston University. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Debbie Weir
12/15/2006 online discussion co-host
Topic: Serving Victims of Impaired Driving

12/15/2004 online discussion host
Topic: Serving Victims of Drunk and Drugged Driving

In June 2002, Debbie Weir joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as the National Director of Victim Services. In this position, she directs the daily operation of the Victim Services Department of MADD’s national office, which provides support and guidance to the field and those victimized by impaired-driving crashes in areas that are not served by individual MADD chapters. Ms. Weir recently developed and wrote a standardized training curriculum for MADD’s Beginning Victim Assistance Training Institutes. She is currently working on the Strategic Plan for Victim Services, which focuses on high-quality, standardized training for all MADD victim advocates and developed plans to reach more victims of drunk driving crashes.

Ms. Weir received a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1982 from Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia. She received her master’s degree in social work in 1986 from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. Ms. Weir has extensive experience in program development. For 7 years, she worked as a hospice social worker specializing in grief counseling. In 1995, she developed St. Paul Hospice-a nonprofit hospice program-where she served as Director from 1995-2002. While there, she created a pediatric hospice program and Healing Hearts-a nonprofit children’s grief center. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Deborah Lamm Weisel, Ph.D.
12/28/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Responding to Victims of Property Crimes

Deborah Lamm Weisel is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at North Carolina Central University. She was formerly an Assistant Research Professor and the Director of police research in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at North Carolina Central University. Her portfolio includes research on police responses to crime problems, such as gangs, street drugs, and graffiti, as well as community policing, safety and security in public housing, and repeat victimization from burglary and robbery. Dr. Lamm Weisel has authored several guides for the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, including Burglary of Single-Family Houses and Analyzing Repeat Victimization. Her work also has been published in Justice Quarterly, Public Management, the NIJ Journal, and the American Journal of Police. Dr. Lamm Weisel holds a doctorate in political science and public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago. View this Guest Host's photograph.

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Helga West
05/29/2007 online discussion host
Topic: Providing Peer Support to Disaster Survivors

Helga West is Co-founder and President of Witness Justice, a national grassroots organization that provides assistance and advocacy for victims of violence in healing from trauma and in navigating the criminal justice process. The organization was founded by survivors for survivors, with peer support at the core of the organizational culture. After falling victim to a brutal, random attempted murder in 1993, Ms. West became an impassioned activist and has told her story on Larry King Live, Prime Time Live, and Good Morning America. She serves on the Peer Support/Response Committee for the After the Crisis initiative, a coalition funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Mental Health Services, focused on healing from trauma after disasters.

Ms. West has authored a number of white papers and Witness Justice assembled a research-based paper called "Trauma—The Common Denominator" that outlines the nature and impact of trauma. She has presented on topics related to gaps in and barriers to victim service, where peer support has often come up as a means to overcome boundaries to foster healing. With more than 15 years of communications and marketing experience, garnering numerous awards for her work, she continues to serve as a consultant and trainer to victim service providers throughout the country. Ms. West is a certified private investigator and has earned certification in women’s self-defense. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Jill Weston
05/26/2010 online discussion host
Topic: Coordinating and Conducting Victim Impact Panels

Jill Weston is a Victim Services Specialist with the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She provides services to crime victims and works closely with victim advocates, judges, and prosecutors. Ms. Weston specializes in victim services in juvenile and adult correctional systems. She uses her diverse correctional and professional experiences to integrate victims’ issues with offender accountability and has assisted many agencies in developing an appropriate balance of victim-centered offender programs. Ms. Weston is well known for her expertise in victim impact and victim awareness programming. She has trained county, state, and federal correctional staff to deliver programming to juvenile and adult offenders to address the harm they have caused their victims. Ms. Weston also trains staff, offenders, and judicial officials in victim restitution.

Ms. Weston currently serves on the Joint Center on Violence and Victim Studies advisory council, and as a faculty member for the National Victim Assistance Academy and State Victim Assistance Academies. Formerly, she was on the national team of the "Victims and Corrections Project," which trained agencies and followed up with them regarding victim services in corrections through OVC and the National Center for Victims of Crime. She was also a team member for the OVC-sponsored "Standardized Victim Impact Curriculum for Corrections" project. In 2001, Ms. Weston was awarded the California Youth Authority Medal of Valor–Distinguished Service for her work in the victim services field. Ms. Weston earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento. She is a graduate of the National Victim Assistance Academy, as well as the Advanced Institute on Victim Studies through Washburn University and California State University, Fresno. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Charity White, M.S.W.
12/18/2013 online discussion cohost
Topic: Coordinating SANE—SARTs in Indian Country

Charity White, M.S.W., is the Kumeyaay Family Services Director for Southern Indian Health Council, Inc., in Alpine, California. Ms. White is responsible for supervising the Family Services Departments, comprising Indian Child Social Services, Mental Health & Wellness, La Posta Substance Abuse Center, REVIVE (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services), and the Safe Havens Supervised Visitation and Exchange Program. Ms. White is a registered Associate Clinical Social Worker and has worked with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, and with substance abuse prevention and intervention services. She also has a long history of working with California and Arizona tribes in Indian Country as a case manager, social worker, policy analyst, and therapist in the tribal health system. Ms. White received her master of social work degree from Arizona State University, with a minor in American Indian Studies.

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Carl Wicklund
07/16/2014 online discussion cohost
Topic: Crime Victim Considerations for Parole Professionals

Carl Wicklund is the Executive Director of the American Probation and Parole Association. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the corrections and human services field. He has developed and managed a variety of community-based, private-sector programs for juveniles and adults involved with the justice or social services systems. He also has administered more than 100 federally funded grants or cooperative agreements. Mr. Wicklund leads, serves on, or has served on numerous advisory groups, including the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (a federal advisory committee to the U.S. Attorney General), for which he is the vice chair and previous chair of the Privacy and Information Quality Working Group. Previously, he served as the director of a three-county adult and juvenile probation and parole department, and as a volunteer counselor at the Sexual Violence Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Wicklund has received the Gisela Konopka Award from the Minnesota Citizens Council on Crime and Justice, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Community Corrections Association, the Allied Professional Award from the U.S. Congressional Crime Victims’ Rights Caucus, and the Justice Leadership Award from Family Justice in New York. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Linda Williams, Ph.D.
10/30/2013 online discussion host
Topic: Integrating Crime Victims' Issues into College and University Curricula

10/09/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Collaborative Educational Models Benefiting Victims and Providers

Linda Williams, Ph.D., is a Professor at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell (UML), where she teaches courses on crime victim issues, research methods, and gender, race, and crime. The author of several books and numerous scholarly publications, Dr. Williams has lectured in the United States and internationally on topics including child sexual abuse, trauma and memory, human trafficking, and researcher-practitioner collaborations. Since 2009, Dr. Williams has worked with colleagues at UML on the Office for Victims of Crime-funded National Scope Demonstration Project to Integrate Crime Victims’ Issues into University and College Curricula.

Dr. Williams has directed longitudinal research on violence against women and children for 40 years and has been the principal investigator on 16 U.S. Government-funded research projects. She is currently conducting a National Institute of Justice-funded study of Decision-Making in Sexual Assault Cases: Multi-site Replication Research on Sexual Violence Case Attrition in the U.S. She recently completed research on the use of social marketing and in-person training programs to enhance bystander behaviors to prevent relationship violence on college campuses, as well as a study of teenage victims of human trafficking.

Dr. Williams previously served as director of research at the Stone Center, Wellesley Centers for Women, and on the National Research Councils’ Panel on Violence Against Women. She is a recipient of the Research Career Achievement Award conferred by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Geri Wisner

11/17/15 online discussion cohost
Topic: Improving Federal Agency Response to Sexual Violence in Indian Country

Geri Wisner is the Tribal Prosecutor for the Pawnee Nation and Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma and the Executive Director for the Native American Children’s Alliance (NACA). She also oversees the Wisner Law Firm and serves as a member of the National Coordination Committee on the American Indian/Alaska Native SANE-SART Initiative.

Ms. Wisner is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and served as the first Ambassador to the United Nations representing them. She also conducts specialized trainings for law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, and allied child abuse professionals responding to child maltreatment and domestic violence utilizing a victim-centered approach. She served as the Attorney General for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, and Prosecutor for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma, Absentee Shawnee Tribe, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

Ms. Wisner is a former U.S. Marine. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and an American Indian Studies Certificate from Oklahoma State University, and a J.D. and Native American Law Certificate from the University of Tulsa College of Law. She is the president of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation bar association and serves as a board member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).

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Elaine Witman
06/27/2007 online discussion co-host
Topic: Collaborations on Faith-Based Initiatives

Elaine R. Witman is Director of Partnership and Program Development at the Sidran Institute, a nonprofit organization that educates people about traumatic stress and advocates for those who suffer from it. She joined the institute in 2003 to codirect the Baltimore chapter of the Spirituality and Victim Services Initiative with Rev. Theresa Mercer, funded by the Office for Victims of Crime. Before joining the Sidran staff, Ms. Witman served on the staff of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, where she secured federal OVC funding to design and develop a Maryland State Victim Assistance Academy. Ms. Witman has more than 20 years of experience in organizational development and capacity building; program design and implementation; community organizing; training, technical assistance, and community education; and systems integration.

Ms. Witman is currently serving as the Director of the Shofar Coalition, under the auspices of the Sidran Institute, a collaborative response to childhood trauma in the Baltimore Jewish Community. Her past accomplishments include cofounding the Maryland Alliance Against Family Violence and helping to build and manage several nonprofit organizations, including Communities In Schools of Maryland, Parents Anonymous of Maryland, and Head Start of Central Virginia. She has received the Public Citizen of the Year Award from the Maryland State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Contributions in Maryland in the Prevention of Child Abuse from the Administration for Children, Youth and Families. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Timothy Woods
08/18/10 online discussion host
Topic: Serving Survivors of Homicide Victims During Cold Case Investigations

05/14/2008 online discussion host
Topic: Responding to Victims of Crime

Tim Woods is Director of the Research, Development, and Grants Division at the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) in Alexandria, Virginia. He also is Project Director for all the association’s grants from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), including the Serving Survivors of Homicide Victims During Cold Case Investigations project, in partnership with Justice Solutions, Inc., and the National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. NSA, which has provided law enforcement training since 1940 and currently has more than 19,000 members, represents the 3,085 sheriffs’ offices and departments in the United States and other public safety professionals. Mr. Woods is the author of First Response to Victims of Crime 2001, an NSA handbook for frontline law enforcement officers that was cited as one of the agency’s most requested publications. Mr. Woods also wrote the OVC-funded First Response to Victims of Crime Who Have a Disability handbook (2002) and the revised/expanded First Response to Victims of Crime guidebook (2008), for which a companion rollcall video was produced.

Mr. Woods earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology, political science, history, and Germanic languages and literature from Washington University, and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Virginia. He earned his juris doctorate from the St. Louis University School of Law, and has a master of laws degree in international law from the Georgetown University Law Center. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Jim Wright
02/07/2007 online discussion host
Topic: Identity Theft Prevention and Best Practices

Jim Wright is the Managing Director of Programs at the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). He oversees NCPC’s Identity Theft Prevention initiative, educating consumers on the importance of protecting sensitive information and preventing identity theft. He also conducts workshops on the subject for audiences around the country. Wright joined NCPC in 2005 as Director of the Seniors and Crime Prevention Initiative, a post he was well prepared for after 35 years in law enforcement, 25 of which he spent with the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C.

After retiring with the rank of captain in 1994, Mr. Wright provided oversight to various federal grant programs at the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association. He has also provided training and technical assistance on issues such as methamphetamine labs and traffic safety, and on preparing for incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from American University.

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Shontel Wright
11/20/2013 online discussion cohost
Topic: Innovative Practices in Victim Assistance and Compensation

Shontel Wright is the Program Director for the Victim Assistance Unit of the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Her responsibilities include developing public policy, providing training and technical assistance, conducting program evaluations, and guiding agency strategic planning. Ms. Wright also administers more than $17 million annually in federal victim services grant funds. A national advocate of crime victims’ rights, Ms. Wright has more than 15 years of experience assisting victims of violent crime, both in the private, nonprofit sector and with state government. Her primary focus is on family violence, sexual assault, and child advocacy. Previously, Ms. Wright developed and implemented training and technical assistance programs to strengthen victims’ rights and services while working with the Georgia Department of Human Resources. She also served as the director of program services for Atlanta Victim Assistance, Inc. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Phelan Wyrick, Ph.D.
07/20/2011 online discussion host
Topic: Integrating Evidence-Based Practices Into Victim Services

Phelan Wyrick, Ph.D., is a Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In this role, he leads OJP’s Evidence Integration Initiative, which provides tools and information to help justice practitioners and policymakers understand, access, and integrate evidence into their work. Dr. Wyrick joined DOJ in 1998 and has held senior positions at the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. In 2007, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Partnerships. Prior to joining DOJ, Dr. Wyrick served as a Research Associate in the City of Westminster Police Department in Orange County, California.

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DeAnn Yamamoto
04/11/2012 online discussion host
Topic: Analyzing the Impact of Sexual Assault Protection Orders

DeAnn Yamamoto is the Deputy Executive Director of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) in Washington, where she oversees the Client Services Team, comprising clinical therapists, legal advocates, and crisis counselors. She also is responsible for overall staff development and organizational design. Ms. Yamamoto has more than 30 years of experience creating and implementing effective services for physical and sexual assault victims. She has been with KCSARC since 1984 and has written a series of publications for parents and sexual assault victims, including Especially for Parents, Especially for Parents of Adolescents, and A Healing Celebration: A Group Treatment Manual for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault.

Prior to joining KCSARC, Ms. Yamamoto worked as a Program Director for C.A.R.E. Services of Lewis County and Alternatives to Violence in Eastern Washington. With both organizations, she coordinated a range of services addressing domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault. Ms. Yamamoto received a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from Washington State University, a master’s degree in counseling from Liberty University, and a certificate in human resources management from the University of Washington. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Major Matthew Youngblood
04/19/2013 online discussion host
Topic: Responding to Sexual Assault Victims through Military/Civilian Partnerships

Major Matthew Youngblood is a Victim Assistance Advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, which oversees implementation of the department’s sexual assault policy and works with the United States Armed Forces and the civilian community to develop and implement innovative programs to prevent and respond to sexual assault and improve the department’s response to victims when it does occur. Major Youngblood enlisted in the United States Navy in 1991. He attended the University of South Carolina with a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps in 1997. Major Youngblood’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a gold star and Meritorious Service Medal with a gold star. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and a master’s degree in military studies from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

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Joanne Zannoni
04/15/2009 online discussion host
Topic: Strengthening Sexual Assault Victims’ Right to Privacy

Joanne Zannoni, MSW, LICSW, is Associate Director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS), the Connecticut state sexual assault coalition, where she has worked since 2000. She oversees the agency’s fiscal operations, program evaluation, and grant development activities as well as projects involving victim privacy and primary prevention of sexual violence. Her professional experience in the field of violence against women began in 1992 and has included various positions in sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and intervention, from direct services to administration. Ms. Zannoni has developed materials and trained others in the field nationally on protecting sexual assault victims’ privacy and implementing primary prevention strategies regarding sexual violence. She is a graduate of Saint Joseph College and Boston College.

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Lucia Zuniga
04/23/2008 online discussion host
Topic: Implementing Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Programs

Lucia Zuniga, R.N., S.A.N.E., is Director of the Massachusetts’ Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program and in this capacity she oversees the program’s statewide operations, protocols, trainings, certifications, and credentialing standards, with the support of a dedicated staff. Ms. Zuniga is the Cochair of the SANE Council of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the Cochair of the Health Care Working Group of the Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence. As an expert in caring for victims of sexual assault, she has trained countless nurses, physicians, social workers, police officers, district attorneys, rape crisis center staff, judges, and others in the holistic approach to caring for victims after the trauma of sexual assault and how best to collect and preserve the forensic evidence of such attacks.

Ms. Zuniga has more than 18 years of emergency nursing experience and was one of the first nurses in Massachusetts to be certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). In fact, it was while working in the emergency department that she developed her special interest in caring for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She also is a founding board member of the Children’s Alliance in Massachusetts, a member of the Massachusetts Emergency Contraception Network, a legislative committee member of the Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence, and Chair of the SANE and Pediatric SANE Advisory Board. In addition, Ms. Zuniga has worked with other pediatric advisors toward the development of a standardized Pediatric Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit with a “Do No Harm” protocol. She is currently overseeing pediatric SANE operations in addition to adult and adolescent services.

Ms. Zuniga graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1987. View this Guest Host’s photograph.

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Laura Zárate

07/22/15 online discussion host
Topic: Addressing Communication Barriers When Serving Crime Victims

Laura Zárate is the Founding Executive Director of Arte Sana (Art Heals), which is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model program for underserved survivors of sexual violence. As a Latina victim advocate and bilingual training specialist with 29 years of experience, Ms. Zárate has presented at national and international conferences and reached thousands of victim advocates, allied professionals, and promotoras through workshops held in English and Spanish. For more than a decade, she has led Arte Sana's bilingual training and materials development projects, including the first national Spanish-language victim service Web page, the first Spanish-language Sexual Assault Awareness Month packet, and the Existe Ayuda Toolkit. Ms. Zárate is also cofounder and facilitator of Alianza Latina en contra la Agresión Sexual (ALAS), established in 2004 as the national Latina alliance against sexual violence.

In 2004, Ms. Zárate received the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's first National Award for Outstanding Response to and Prevention of Sexual Violence; and, in 2009, she received the Community Empowerment Award from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. In 2014, Ms. Zárate became a certified instructor of community health workers (CHWs) or promotores recognized by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Ms. Zárate holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

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