Victim Services, PVAC, NCVRW
January-February 2023

2022’s KP–VAC Conference

By Jalayne Robinson, LMSW
TDCAA Victim Services Director

In November 2022, the Embassy Suites Landmark in San Antonio was the venue for a very successful conference for key personnel and victim assistance coordinators (VACs) from across the state. A record number of more than 320 attendees gathered to hear speakers on a number of helpful topics. Many, many thanks to our very informative speakers! We appreciate your time and valuable assistance.

            This conference is held annually and provides key personnel and victim assistance coordinators a chance to network and get new ideas from others who do similar jobs; it is a very worthwhile training experience for all. Mark your calendar for next year’s conference to be held November 15–17, 2023, at the Marriott Champion Circle Hotel in Fort Worth. We hope to see you there!

KP–VS Board elections

At the conference, elections were held to elect representatives for the West (Regions 1 & 2) and North Central Areas (Regions 3 & 7). Karen Suarez, a VAC in the 112th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, was elected to serve as the West Area Representative, and Jake Wright, a key personnel staff member in the Palo Pinto County Attorney’s Office, was elected as the North Central Representative. Both Karen and Jake will serve on the KP–VS Board for a term of two years, which began January 1. Welcome Karen and Jake!

            Adina Morris of the Palo Pinto County DA’s Office was elected as the 2023 KP–VS Board Chair.

            I’d like to thank those Board members who are rotating off: Amber Dunn, VAC in the Criminal District Attorney’s Office in Denton County; Lori Zinn, VAC in the County & District Attorney’s Office in Lamb County; Casey Hendrix, VAC in the Criminal District Attorney’s Office in Collin County; and Katie Etringer Quinney, Board Chair, VAC in the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Many thanks to each of you for your time and dedication by serving on the board!

            This Board assists in preparing and developing operational procedures, standards, training, and educational programs. Regional representatives serve as a point of contact for their region. To be eligible, each candidate must have the permission of the elected prosecutor, attend the elections at the Annual Conference or be appointed, and have paid membership dues.

            If you are interested in training and want to give input on speakers and topics at TDCAA conferences for key personnel and VACs, please consider running for the Board. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Each April, communities throughout the country observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) by hosting events promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. NCVRW will be observed April 23–29, 2023; the theme is “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.” Check out the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) website at https://ovc.ojp.gov/program/national-crime-victims-rights-week/overview for additional information.   

            If your community hosts an event, we would love to publish photos and information about it in The Texas Prosecutor journal. Please email me at [email protected] to notify us with information and photos of your event.

PVAC application deadline is January 31

PVAC recognition is a voluntary program for Texas prosecutor offices designed to recognize professionalism in prosecutor-based victim assistance and acknowledge a minimum standard of training in the field. Applicants must provide victim assistance through a prosecutor’s office and be or become a member of the Texas District & County Attorneys Association (key personnel category).

            Applicants must either have three years’ experience providing direct victim services for a prosecutor’s office or five years’ experience in the victim services field, one of which must be providing prosecutor-based victim assistance. They must also have proof of 45 hours training; an applicant who has 10 years’ experience in direct victim services (five of which must be in a prosecutor office) may sign an affidavit stating that the training requirement has been met in lieu of providing copies of training receipts. Lastly, applicants must provide five professional letters of recommendation.

            January 31 is the next deadline for applications, which can be found at www.tdcaa.com/wp-content/uploads/Victim_Services/Duties_ Victims/Professional-Victim-Assistance-Cerftification-Application.pdf. Submit completed applications to me by email at [email protected]

Victim services consultations

Are you a new victim assistance coordinator who works in a prosecutor office? Would your office benefit from group victim services training? Do you or your office need a victim services refresher? I am available to provide victim services training and technical assistance to you and your office in individual or group presentations. The services are free of charge.

            If you would like to schedule a victim services consultation, please email me at [email protected]