The National Center for Victims of Crime's 2007 National Conference, June 18 - June 20, 2007, brought more than 750 professionals to Washington, DC, to explore the latest advances in the field of crime victimization. A dual conference of the National Center for Victims of Crime and the National Crime Victim Bar Association, the event featured an impressive array of national experts and won high praise from presenters and participants alike.
James A. Mercy, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Carroll Ann Ellis, director of the Victim Services Department of the Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department, made a powerful case for viewing violence as a public health problem. The speakers documented the overwhelming impact of violence on psychological and physical health and stressed the need for inventive violence prevention and public education strategies.
Kathy Marshall, executive director of the National Resilience Resource Center; Edward K. Rynearson, MD, Separation and Loss Services, Virginia Mason Hospital; Frank Ochberg, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University; and Janice Harris Lord, national consultant and expert on crime victim issues, showed that research continues to affirm the human capacity for resilience. Learning resilience--how to draw and focus on capacities and powers rather than problems and challenges--can enhance all responses to victims of crime.
John Vaughn, chairperson, National Council on Disability; Olegario D. Cantos, VII, of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; and Joan Durocher, senior staff attorney, National Council on Disability, stressed the need for outreach and service to victims with disabilities as this uniquely vulnerable segment of the population assumes a wider role in society. Recognizing the prevalence and nature of crimes against persons with disability is the first step in launching an appropriate, legally required response to a long-overlooked and poorly understood challenge.
Jeffrey Anderson, chairman, National Crime Victim Bar Association Child Sex Abuse Section; Philip Gerson, National Center for Victims of Crime board member; and Janet Ahern, attorney for the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services in Chicago, explored how civil litigation has forced organizations to address child sex abuse; they also advocated changes--such as eliminating statutes of limitation for the crime--to prosecute offenders and deter future crime. They urged education and outreach to change attitudes that promote crime, such as glorifying criminals, accepting domestic violence, and stigmatizing those who report crimes to police.