Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
Jason S. Miyares
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Richmond, Virginia 23219
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Attorney General Miyares Honors Victims' Rights Advocates for 6th Annual Unsung Heroes Award Ceremony
Richmond, Va. – Attorney General Jason Miyares hosted the 6th annual Unsung Heroes Award Ceremony this week, recognizing Virginians who provide exemplary service and support to victims of crime in Virginia. The Office of the Attorney General established these awards to acknowledge Virginians who dedicate their work to support crime victims with trauma-informed responses in their recovery and healing journey.
"Unsung heroes work tirelessly for others, never seeking the limelight, and, instead, serving as a light to crime victims who are often facing the darkest, most unmooring time in their life,” said Attorney General Miyares. "Our unsung heroes wake up every morning, not knowing what horrors or pain the day could bring and go to work because they know that there are victims who need their help. Their resilience and determination to make a difference in a victim's world inspires me every day.”
Below are the recipients of the 6th annual Unsung Heroes Awards:
Jennifer Baron, Master Police Officer (Norfolk Police Department):
Officer Jennifer Baron has been with the Norfolk Police Department for 17 years. She served as a detective for ten years in various units but found a home in the Special Crimes Unit, which focuses on helping victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Her victim-centered approach, paired with a specialty in trauma-informed interviewing, has helped hundreds of victims who have experienced horrific crimes. In 2019, she helped create the Norfolk Police Department's section of the Norfolk Family Justice Center. In doing so, Officer Baron collaborated with local Commonwealth Attorneys, members of the YWCA, and other local victim service providers to create an environment where victims of any crime can come and receive services in one centralized location. During all this, she also managed to conduct role-call training with fellow officers to educate them on strangulation offenses and updated domestic violence laws. Officer Baron has led from the front lines and has been successful in the arrest and conviction of violent offenders while also providing comfort and peace to the victims of volatile crimes.
Adrienne Beale, Detective (Town of Orange Police Department):
Detective Adrienne Beale has worked in law enforcement for over 18 years, spending 12 of those years working in the Town of Orange. Due to limited funding, Detective Beale is the only full-time detective working on sexual assault cases for the police department. Due to the heavy caseload, Detective Beale advocated for herself to receive forensic interview training to better serve victims and ensure justice is served. Recognizing how traumatic the entire legal process is for victims, Detective Beale made an independent effort to reduce how many times a victim has to retell their story to minimize further traumatization. Her calm, caring, and trauma-informed response to child victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence has allowed several children to speak about the crimes they've ensured when, initially, they were silent. Her thorough investigative techniques have assisted in the arrest and conviction of multiple sexual assault and domestic violence crimes against children and adults.
Judy Clark, Outreach Coordinator (Abuse Alternatives, Inc.):
For 12 years, Judy Clark has served as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Outreach Advocate at Abuse Alternatives, Inc. She is the only trained sexual assault advocate in her region of Washington County in southwest Virginia. Never hesitating to put her life on hold, she remains present for crime victims and has an uncanny ability to provide hope and positivity in the midst of pain and suffering. Outside of her daily responsibilities as an Advocate, she is the Co-Chair of the Washington County and City of Bristol Coordinated Community Response Team for Domestic Violence, the Chair of the Jurisdiction's Sexual Assault Response Team, a Bystander Intervention Trainer, a member of the statewide VCU training team that provides education to law enforcement regarding victims of violence over the age of 50, a member of the Region Four Crisis Response Team, a member of the Virginia Action Alliance Southwest Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Taskforce, and is a monitor for the region's lethality assessment programs. Her invaluable advocacy and support have contributed to the resiliency of the many victims she has served.
Kristan Crummett, Victim Witness Coordinator (Waynesboro Victim Witness and Magnolia Rose):
While working at Waynesboro Victim Witness, Kristan identified a gap in services for victims of human trafficking; there was nowhere in the area to go to receive help. Kristan recognized that without proper support and services, it is extremely difficult to escape a human trafficking situation and inspired her to co-found a nonprofit organization called Magnolia Rose. Magnolia Rose assists human trafficking victims referred by law enforcement with medical help, forensic interviews, and trauma-informed programs. Due to the high rate of drug addiction among human trafficking victims, Kristan collaborated with the local hospital to facilitate drug rehabilitation and detox opportunities. Magnolia Rose further assists victims of human trafficking by helping them start a new chapter through career preparation, resume writing, and networking classes. Kristan's dedication to human trafficking victims has provided hope to so many and has allowed them to take back their life.
Linda Ellis-Williams, Director of Domestic Violence (YWCA, Lynchburg):
For 32 years, Linda Ellis-Williams has provided safety, assistance, and hope to victims of domestic violence. Linda Ellis-Williams began at the YWCA as a client receiving help, and now she serves as the Director, offering invaluable support and services to others. After two years of raising awareness and advocating the need for a Domestic Violence shelter, she opened Frannie's House. A couple of years later, Linda received word that the only shelter in Danville would be closing due to loss of funding and immediately went to work to help provide shelter to those in need. Over the following five years, Linda collaborated with Danville Advocates to raise money for another shelter. Her hard work and perseverance paid off, and now Danville has successfully opened the Haven of the Dan River Region Domestic Violence Shelter. Linda is currently in the process of helping Farmville regain funding for their shelter to help ensure domestic violence victims in Farmville have a safe place to go.
Lorraine Goldberg, Detective (Loudoun County Sheriff's Department):
Detective Lorraine Goldberg has served with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office for over four years, with May marking her one year anniversary with the Domestic Violence Unit. While in the Domestic Violence Unit, Detective Goldberg quickly advanced in her expertise and, as a result, now provides instruction at the Criminal Justice Academy on Domestic Violence and Strangulation. Through her work with local partners, Detective Goldberg became aware of a surplus of cases where offenders attempted to suffocate their victims. She began tracking data, locally and then statewide, on cases involving suffocation and found that only 39 states had statutes criminalizing suffocation. Virginia was not one of them. This information catalyzed her to advocate for legislative change and testify before the General Assembly. As a result of Detective Goldberg's initiative, victims across Virginia now have the opportunity to receive justice in such cases. Detective Goldberg's commitment to the victims she serves by advocating for legislative change far exceeds her job requirements and demonstrates her dedication to public service.
Christopher Hudspeth, Master Firefighter/Paramedic (Chesapeake Fire Department):
Christopher has been with the Chesapeake Fire Department for 21 years. Prior to becoming a Firefighter Paramedic, he served in the United States Marine Corps for over 20 years, where he deployed to combat zones in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. He faithfully served his country and now serves his community by developing, instituting, and training officers to provide life-saving services to critically wounded victims. His experience in combat zones and the casualties he witnessed were the impetus for his passion for saving lives on the front lines as a Firefighter Paramedic. He developed a medical training program for the officers of the police department that include: basic academy classes, in-service training, and specialty teams training. He has spent countless hours teaching and refining how officers apply tourniquets, recognize and treat chest wounds, and save the lives of victims of violent crimes. So many of the lives saved by the Chesapeake Police Department over the last eight years can be attributed to the training Christopher developed.
Charlene Tammy Jones, Deputy Director (Richmond Victim Witness Services):
Charlene Tammy Jones has been serving crime victims for the past 27 years. Her safety planning assistance helps guide victims through the Criminal Justice System while seeking help with the legal battle facing their abusers. Charlene Tammy Jones is gifted at calming victims and witnesses when they have to share traumatic events in testimony and, since 1996, she has been assigned to assist the family members of over 130 homicide victims. Her dedication to keeping the victims and family members informed of court hearings, providing court accompaniment, and offering resources and financial referrals to assist them with medical care, funeral expenses, therapeutic support, and moving expenses has benefited so many victims who have come to her in their time of need. She provides support to crime victims promptly after the criminal incident occurs, during the legal proceedings, and follows through with assistance after the court process is finalized.
Ashley Manuel, LAP Coordinator (The Family Resource Center):
Ashley Manuel began working at the Wytheville Family Resource Center ten years ago as a Victim Advocate. Several years ago, she became the Lethality Assessment Protocol Coordinator. Prior to this position, she worked as a Probation Officer, a House Parent at a Children's Group Home, a Case Manager at a Homeless Shelter, and served at an Addiction Recovery Center. Her time spent working with victims of sexual and domestic violence opened her eyes to a need for ways to determine the threat of lethality in various domestic violence situations. After attending training and learning about the Lethality Assessment Program, Ashley implemented the program in Wytheville by partnering with local law enforcement. Programs now operate in Carroll County, Dickenson County, Grayson County, Galax City, the Town of Independence, Smyth County, and Wythe County. Ashley and her team have supported police officers in the area by providing ongoing training and technical assistance for the LAP program. This program and the relationships developed by Ashely have increased referrals and services to victims in the Wytheville area, like safety planning, emergency shelter, and emergency hospital accompaniment.
Karen Mortensen, Director (New Kent/Charles City Victim Witness Program):
Karen Mortensen is relentless in her support and care of crime victims and works diligently to ensure they have support and guidance through the criminal justice process. She cares deeply about each victim, answering their calls no matter the time of day or night. She has supported thousands of victims, yet she responds to each one as if they are the first and only. Karen does not let herself become numb to the pain that victimization places upon the soul of an individual. While serving as Director of the New Kent County and Charles City Victim Witness Program, Karen identified an extreme need for a local domestic violence shelter. The high caseload of domestic violence cases in the region drove Karen to open Bridges of Change Domestic Violence Shelter, a ten-bed facility where victims can receive a safe place to stay, food, and job training opportunities. Karen has been diligent about holding fundraisers throughout the year to ensure the shelter remains open and available to those in need.
From left to right: Kristan Crummett, Adrian Perry, Judy Clark , Ashley Manuel, Tammy Jones, Master Firefighter Paramedic Christopher Hudspeth, Attorney General Miyares, Detective Lorraine Goldberg, Linda Ellis-Williams, Detective Adrienne Beale and Master Police Officer Jennifer Baron