Beshear: Advancing Crime Victims’ Rights Focus of Conference
To better assist survivors, victim advocates, law enforcement and allied professionals in advancing the rights of crime victims, Attorney General Andy Beshear and his Office of Victims Advocacy are hosting a two-day conference, beginning Tuesday.
The conference will be at the Administrative Office of the Courts, June 11-12. The theme of the conference is “Honoring our past. Creating hope for the future.”
National and local victim advocacy experts will host 16 workshops focusing on topics such as the effects of mass violence on communities; supporting victims of online child sexual abuse; encouraging crime reporting; meeting diverse community needs; confronting implicit bias; Green Dot strategy and responding to strangulation (see 19 RS SB 70).
Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., Beshear will address attendees and present the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award, given annually to a victim advocate whose service to crime victims merits recognition in commitment, exemplary service, and contribution to preserving and protecting victims’ rights to justice and due process, and to improving the overall treatment of crime victims.
“Our mission work is focused on enhancing survivors’ services and advancing their rights, that is why we empower our advocacy community to come together and share their expert knowledge with each other,” said Beshear. “This conference is one example of the many ways we have worked with survivors and allied partners over the years to promote culture change and create hope for survivors.”
Jennifer Newman, senior program strategist, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will present new ways to help victims of online child sexual exploitation during the opening session on Tuesday, June 11 at 9:15 a.m. Eastern time. Newman’s presentation covers new efforts being made to remove child pornography images and videos from the internet and help victims become survivors.
“Victims of child sexual abuse imagery suffer terribly at the hands of their offenders and may face an incredibly tough road after an arrest has been made,” Newman said. “While the sexual abuse may have stopped, these victims move forward knowing the images and videos of their very darkest days may be in circulation online.”
Newman added advocates for victims know the resources and assistance available to help with these challenges, and that they can share ways to help victims regain control and feel empowered in their lives.
Connie Best, clinical psychologist and professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, will host The Effects of Mass Violence Incidents on Communities workshop on Wednesday, June 12 at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
Dr. Best said she wants to help victim assistance professionals be prepared to offer response, recovery and resiliency-building support services.
“Victims’ needs will vary from the immediate, to the intermediate and long-term time frames,” said Best. “My workshop aims to help victim assistance professionals be aware of the resources already developed that can aid service providers in developing a plan that can be tailored for their community.”
Christy Burch, executive director of the Women’s Crisis Center in Northern Kentucky and of Green Dot, and Gretchen Hunt, executive director of the Office of Victims Advocacy, will host a workshop on Green Dot.
Green Dot is a nationally recognized strategy, active in 42 states, five countries and in the United States Air Force, that focuses on preventing power-based personal violence, sexual violence, partner violence, child abuse, elder abuse, bullying and stalking.
In March,Beshear and the Women’s Crisis Center announced Beshear’s employees would complete Green Dot training empowering them to prevent violence in their communities. The completion of the training makes Beshear’s office the first attorney general’s office in the nation to implement Green Dot. In Kentucky, Beshear’s office is the only state government agency to complete the training and Beshear is the first Kentucky constitutional officer to seek the training for office employees. “For so long we have focused just on responding to violence after it happens,” said Hunt.
“Green Dot gives us a practical tool and real hope that we can prevent sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse in communities.”Registration is closed, but individuals can contact [email protected] for more information about the conference or visit the Victim Assistance Conference website. Media are invited to attend.