As most of you may have heard over the last few weeks, I have made the difficult decision to resign from my post as the State Victim Advocate at the Office of the Victim Advocate, effective July 24, 2014. Although I am saddened to leave this great state, and am thankful for the professional and personal opportunities I have been afforded while tirelessly advocating on behalf of the crime victims of this state, the recent opportunity to return to Illinois near my family support system is one I cannot relinquish.
In March of 2013 I promised that through public education, collaboration with law enforcement and service providers, as well as court involvement and legislative advocacy, I believed that the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims would become a priority in our state. In my position as the State Victim Advocate for the past 16 months, I have attempted to bring that belief to fruition by raising the level of state awareness and response to the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims; advocating for stricter non-disclosure laws for images and audio of victims of homicide as it relates to the FOI laws; repairing and enhancing key professional relationships with victim service providers and other criminal justice personnel; elevating the professionalism and effectiveness of the OVA; and spearheading the necessary creation of the Governorís Victimsí Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission (VREAC), among others.
The creation of the VREAC will stand out as one of the OVAís greatest accomplishments in my short time in Connecticut, but I am also most proud of our advocacy to expand the protections for homicide victims and their families under P.A. 13-311, and limiting the damaging effect on crime victims that would have resulted in the Connecticut Sentencing Commissionís 2014 legislative proposal regarding juvenile defendants (HB5221).
While I am confident that the successes of my wonderful staff and I over the past 16 months have once again made the Office of the Victim Advocate a relevant part of the state system on behalf of crime victims, it is my hope that the relationships that we repaired and gained, the policy and legislative victories that we attained, as well as the necessary rebranding of the OVA will continue in my absence.
I thank you for the opportunity and privilege of serving you over the past 16 months, and hope that the efforts of the OVA during that time has made the Connecticut criminal justice system a much more responsive place for crime victims.
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