For every crime, there’s a victim — someone who has been assaulted, robbed or even murdered. With that comes the inevitable emotional trauma and feelings of vulnerability.
A burglary victim comes home to find his or her home ransacked. Suddenly their safe place no longer feels safe anymore.
A domestic violence victim suffers the ongoing emotional issues of not only having been abused, but abuse that has occurred over time.
A sexual assault victim bears the scars for a lifetime and needs support to deal with the psychological trauma that is inevitable.
For more than four decades, Community Service Programs (CSP) has been providing services for victims in Orange County.
The 2017 CSP Victims’ Rights’ Conference took place on Wednesday, March 29 at the Embassy Suites in Garden Grove. Its theme was “Strength. Resilience. Justice.” The event hosted more than 200 law enforcement officers, therapists, nonprofit staff, service providers, victims and community members for training and to honor those who work to advocate for victims throughout Orange County.
Each year CSP assists the needs of more than 125,000 victims of crime, witnesses and their families in Orange County, including abused children, struggling families, acting-out adolescents, and those in need of mediation services.
The conference offered educational workshops and an opportunity to recognize some of the professionals and law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond to meet the needs of crime victims.
Educational offerings included workshops on how trauma impacts a child and individuals who experienced early trauma throughout adulthood and key issues of trust and betrayal between survivors of trauma and advocates, and the intense feelings that can challenge these relationships.
Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer spoke and took the time to highlight the dangerous trend of early release as reform. During his keynote he said: “We have never been more challenged in California today with the law enforcement system and what are being called reforms than ever before. Crime is up 25 percent in our counties and yet we are being told there is no evidence there is a link to Prop 109 or 47.”
He went on to say, “victimization is not a forgivable sin.” More criminals on the streets means there will be more victims.
The following service providers were recognized by CSP:
Visionary in Victim Service Award
Dr. Susan Yeres
Dr. Yeres was recognized for her lifelong work in implementing training for Victim Advocates across the state. She is a consultant for the California Crime Victims Assistance Association and CSP. Her work has created the foundation for the training of all victim advocates in the State of California.
Victim Service Awards
La Habra Police Det. Jason Forgash
Det. Forgash was recognized for his work with crime victims and going above and beyond to offer support. In one case, he worked a murder-suicide where two children were in the home. He provided for their needs and even went out of his way to assure support for one of the older children who was to attend a graduation ceremony in two days following the crime. Det. Forgash also helps to train responders and is currently pursuing his doctorate in psychology.
Fullerton College Professors Jodi Balma, Diana Kyle and Kelly Nelson-Wright
This team of college professors was recognized for their leadership in bringing awareness about sexual assault and human trafficking on their campuses. They have organized events, raised funds and recruited volunteers for the Sexual Assault Victim Service Prevention program.
Betty Delany Victim Service Award
Kristin began as a CSP Sexual Assault Victim Services volunteer while a student at Cal State Fullerton. She earned a master’s degree in counseling and was promoted to the position of supervisor for the Rape Crisis Center. As supervisor of CSP’s Sexual Assault Victim Services, she currently oversees all the volunteers, facilitates training, community outreach and writes grants for the center. She does all this and still manages her own client caseload.
Distinguished Service Award
Alvarado has worked at CSP since 2001. She works behind the scenes in the CSP Victim Compensation Program. She ensures that victims of various crimes receive the appropriate financial support they need. She was recognized for her excellent care and communication in dealing with crime victims.
The valor award is provided to a victim who has demonstrated strength and resilience in the aftermath of crime victimization. As requested, their identity is kept private but the following is a quote:
“Because of the commitment and support from law enforcement, the district attorney’s office and advocates from the family protection unit afforded to victims like me I have been able to go on with life and at the same time life once again has meaning.”
Cypress Police Det. Deanna Hartman
Detective Hartman was recognized for her work on a serial child predator case involving numerous victims and multiple jurisdictions. The case was especially difficult since it involved the use of the Internet to prey on underage minors. As a side note, Det. Hartman is married to Westminster K-9 officer Travis Hartman.
Joe is a retired Anaheim Police Department captain. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From left, Community Service Programs Victim Assistance Programs Training Coordinator Anna Espinosa, Community Service Programs Executive Director Ronnetta Johnson, San Rafael resident and Visionary in Victim Services Award winner Dr. Susan A. Yeres, a consultant for CSP and the California Crime Victims Assistance Association, and Community Service Programs Director of Victim Assistance Programs Lita Mercado at nonprofit Community Service Programs’ (CSP) 13th annual Victims’ Rights Conference on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Garden Grove. Kait McKay Photography