Victims' Protocol Summit a Ground-Breaking Success
by Beth McDonough 
DOC Victim Services

Staff from the Department of Correction attended a first-of-its-kind meeting Feb. 24-25 with criminal justice professionals from across the state to address how agencies can collaborate to assist crime victims.

The meeting, called the Victims of Crime Act Protocol Summit, drew 350 representatives from law enforcement agencies, District Attorney's Offices, Clerks of Court, Division of Prisons, Division of Community Corrections, Attorney General's Office and DOC Victim Services. 

The representatives met in Raleigh to discuss their responsibilities under the Crime Victims' Rights Act, which became fully effective in July 1999 and lays out mandated victim service actions and responsibilities for numerous agencies. Participants were broken into teams based on prosecutorial districts; 36 of 39 prosecutorial districts were represented. 

The summit was hosted by North Carolina Victims' Assistance Network, a non-profit agency that works with crime victims. Catherine Gallagher, NCVAN's executive director, described the summit as "a call to bring the agencies that are under the Crime Victims' Rights Act mandate together as a local team to discuss how to fully implement effective victim services." 

Each team talked about its responsibilities, successful practices, and challenges and then produced action plans to address problem areas in delivering victim services.

Karen Taylor George, DOC victim services administrator, called the summit a success. "It was very instructive to see how individual agencies are handling victim services around the state," she said. "Each county has its own way of doing things, so this team approach is the most direct and effective way to ensure quality victim services." 

Other participants agreed, and many went home with renewed energy and purpose to provide quality services to victims.

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