Our mission is to champion dignity and compassion for those harmed by crime and crisis.
We advocate for victims by connecting them with services and resources.
We provide skill-based training to victim advocates and crisis responders.
We ensure the highest standards and professional core competencies are met and maintained by those working directly with crime victims through credentialing programs.
We promote public policy initiatives that protect the rights of crime victims and serve as the national voice for victims.
We care about and respond to the plight of people and one another.
Excellence in our work and justice in our cause means we honor our commitments.
Teamwork and partnerships are crucial to the work we do.
We are driven by the hope that the work we do change lives.
Chief Justice Richard Barajas (Ret.)Executive Director
Chief Justice Richard Barajas (Ret.) is a native of El Paso, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Juris Doctor from the Baylor University. He additionally holds a Master’s in Education, Administration and Supervision. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and the District of Columbia Bar. He served in the United States Naval Judge Advocate General’s Corps as a trial and defense attorney in Norfolk, Virginia and as a staff attorney assigned to the Commander, United States Forces in the Azores, Portugal. His last naval assignment was with the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs as a legislative attorney on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He left military service with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He has been admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Texas, the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the United States Supreme Court.
In 1987, in response to the murder of his brother Oscar in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chief Justice Barajas abandoned his practice of criminal law and successfully sought the office of District Attorney for the 83rd Judicial District of the State of Texas. In 1991, he was appointed to the Eighth District Court of Appeals for the State of Texas and subsequently was elected Chief Justice of the Court. He retired from elected judicial service and took the non-elected status of senior justice in August 2006.
Chief Justice Barajas is a former member of the Texas District and County Attorneys’ Association and the National District Attorney’s Association. He served as a faculty member of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, on the Texas Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Efficiency, its Task Force on Information Technology, and its Task Force on Judicial Selection, the Texas Supreme Court Gender Bias Implementation Committee, as well as State Bar of Texas Crime Victims and Witnesses Committee.
Chief Justice Barajas has made helping victims heal his life-long professional mission. He and his former law clerk, Scott A. Nelson, are authors of the Baylor Law Review article entitled The Proposed Crime Victims’ Federal Constitutional Amendment: Working Toward a Proper Balance. He has been actively associated with National Organization for Victims Assistance for over twenty-five years, as a general member, an elected board member, and most recently as an advisory board member. He has served as the national chair of the NOVA Task Force on Identity Theft, a task force to examine the effects of victimization of identity theft and services, which may be afforded those crime victims. A nationally recognized lecturer on the proper balancing of the constitutional rights between the criminal defendant and the intended victim, Chief Justice Barajas was honored by the President of the United States at a White House ceremony as a national recipient of the Presidential Award for Victim Services. He has advised the Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime and the Office of Violence Against Women on issues relating to human trafficking. In addition, he is a frequent victim-based lecturer on topics relating to the criminal justice system; essential leadership qualities of an effective victim advocate; the proper balancing of the criminal justice system; identity theft and the military; prosecutorial ethics and victim rights; the First Amendment and victim advocates; stages and consequences of victimization; hate crimes and implicit bias in the criminal justice system, among other prevailing topics.
Claire Ponder SelibDeputy Director
Claire Ponder Selib has worked in sexual assault and domestic violence prevention for the past 20 years. As NOVA’s Deputy Director, Claire leads NOVA’s National Advocacy Leadership Center (NALC), including the NOVA Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA), the NOVA Campus Advocacy Training (NCAT) and our monthly continuing education webinar series. From 2013-14, Claire was instrumental in working with the Department of Defense (DoD) to stand up the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP), an innovative program to train and certify all military sexual assault victim advocates.
Prior to joining NOVA, Claire served for over five years as the Project Manager for the Army’s Victim Advocacy and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Contract; managing a staff of 164 Victim Advocates at 56 Army installations around the world. Claire has extensive experience developing policies, anti-violence campaigns, training curricula and facilitating national trainings for military and civilian audiences. She has managed state and national anti-violence programs at the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Additionally, Claire provided on-call advocacy, individual counseling, and psychoeducational groups to survivors of sexual assault/abuse and domestic violence while working at Prince George’s Hospital Center, Children’s National Medical Center and Women Empowered Against Violence.
Claire holds a BA in English from Columbia University and a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Deborah AdamsSenior Director of Finance and Operational Services
Roger RobertsDirector of Crisis Response Services
Lindsy GundrumDirector, D-SAACP
Mariel BranaganD-SAACP Deputy Program Manager
August MannCredentialing Coordinator, D-SAACP
Sharon McCownAdministrative Coordinator
Ashley FletcherProject Coordinator, NACP
Sandra TrotterAssistant Credentialing Coordinator, D-SAACP
Allison WilcoxTraining Support Specialist
Board of Directors
NOVA’s Board of Directors is comprised of up to fifteen elected members committed to its mission.
- Steven J. Twist (President, (1st Term expires 2020)
Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, Scottsdale, AZ
- Rhonda S. Barner, Immediate Past President, (1st Term expires 2017)
Retired-Director, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office/Witness Division Dayton, OH
- Andrew Yurick, Vice-President, (2nd Term expires 2020)
Attorney, Woodbury, NJ
- Rosie Martinez, Secretary (1st Term expires 2021)
Victims Unit Director, Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney- Victims Unit
- Jennifer Radder, Treasurer, (1st Term expires 2020)
Family Ministries Director at Destiny Community Church
REMAINING ELECTED BOARD
- Jeannette Adkins, MEd, LPC, CA, (1st Term expires 2019)
Retired – Executive Director, Michael’s House Child Advocacy Center/Greene Co. Prosecutor’s Office
- Paul B. Freeman, (1st Term expires 2020)
Retired – Victim Specialist Federal Bureau of Investigation,
Victim Services – Consulting, Training and Trauma Response
- Dr. Mamie Futrell, DSW, LMSW (1st Term expires 2021)
Civilian Victim Advocate for the USAF (Full time)
Charleston, South Carolina
- Michaelene O’Neill McCann, (1st Term expires 2019)
Retired – Attorney ADA and Chief Victim Witness Services
Essex MA District Attorney’s Office
- Patricia A. Payne, (1st Term expires 2019)
Retired – Executive Director of Northwest Victim Services
Willow Grove, PA
- Elizabeth (Beth) Rossman, (1st Term expires 2019)
Retired – Director Office of the State Attorney 18th Judicial Circuit, Florida
Honorary Board of Directors
Our Honorary Board Members offer additional expertise to the Board of Directors.
- Katie Beers, Abduction & Abuse Survivor/Motivational Speaker
- Hon. Collene Thompson Campbell
San Juan Capistrano, CA
- John Gillis, Victim Consultant
Rancho Murieta, CA
- Hon. Lois Haight, Judge of Superior Court
- Hon. Bill Montgomery, County Attorney
Maricopa County, Phoenix, AZ
- Joseph Myers, Executive Director
National Indian Justice Center,
Santa Rosa, CA
- Hon. Ricardo Rodriguez, Jr.
Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney, TX
- D. Michael Sheline, Assistant Section Chief
Chief-Crime Victims Section, Office of Ohio Attorney General
- David Thomas, Program Manager II
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP),
- Sarah Tueting, Executive Coach, Gold & Silver Olympic Medalist, Writer
Park City, UT
- John Vanderzon, Director of Technology and Sales
Sun Management, McLean, VA
In 2008, NOVA teamed up with LifeLock to address the growing need for identity theft victim assistance and remediation. Based in Tempe, Arizona, the company has been recognized with numerous awards and honors.
As partners, we provided educational programs about identity theft to tens of thousands of consumers, victim advocates and allied professionals as well as crime prevention specialists. The one-day trainings addressed a range of identity theft issues, including laws, new technologies, awareness and protection strategies and assistance tools to aid victims of identity theft.
Visit LifeLock’s website for more information on training options.
National Advocacy Leadership Center Partners
In collaboration with our partners, NALC seeks to promote and advance the professionalization and care quality of victim advocacy. View a list of our partners
While NOVA’s core sphere of influence and expertise has been North America, NOVA also has international relationships that provide opportunities for multinational consultation and collaboration.
For a limited time:
Purchase NOVA #bethevoice T-shirts and Waterbottles
We stock a variety of NOVA merchandise in limited quantities. Our most popular resource is a series of publications related to victim advocacy and child victims.
Become a NOVA Member
We are so grateful to our members! Our members are the backbone of the NOVA network. Each membership is an investment in providing high quality training, victim advocacy, crisis response, and enhanced services for victims and survivors of crime and crisis.
Join our growing and diverse network of NOVA Members today! NOVA offers two membership plans – NOVA Basic Membership and NOVA Premier Membership – to give you more benefits and choices. Select the NOVA Membership Plan that’s right for you!
NOVA Basic Membership
Along with the tremendous satisfaction of investing in a network of incredible professionals around the world, NOVA Basic Membership offers the following benefits:
- Quarterly NOVA Member E-Newsletter
- Reduced registration fee for the NOVA Annual Conference
- Reduced training fees for NOVA’s Crisis Response and other training programs
- Voting privileges to elect members of our Board of Directors
- NOVA merchandise and publication discounts
Become a Basic NOVA Member by clicking HERE
If you do not wish to pay online please download the paper application HERE
NOVA Premier Membership
NOVA Premier Members enjoy all of the NOVA Basic Membership benefits PLUS full access to NOVA’s National Advocacy Leadership Center (NALC).
- NOVA’s Premier Members-Only Website
- NALC’s Monthly and Quarterly CEU Trainings for Victim Advocates and Program Managers: Earn up to 24 CEU credits per year!
- NALC’s Career Center: Career guidance, job listings and other essential information for victim assistance professionals
- Networking Opportunities: On-line and in-person meet-ups
- Professional Updates: Best practices, upcoming trainings and calls to action
Become a Premier NOVA Member by clicking HERE.
If you do not wish to pay online please download the paper application HERE
Annual membership dues are as follows:
- NOVA Basic Membership$55
- Senior/Student/U.S. Military/Volunteer Victim Advocate/ NVAA Alumni (20% Discount)$44
- NOVA Premier Membership$100
- Senior/Student/U.S. Military/Volunteer Victim Advocate/NVAA Alumni
- Life Membership$750
- Agency Head (limited to elected or appointed individuals)please call
- Group Discounts (20% off 5 or more memberships from the same agency)please call
Please expand for submission details:
You can upgrade your membership to a NOVA Premier Membership and receive full access to NOVA’s NALC at any point this year.
A life membership allows you to join an exclusive cadre of NOVA members who receive NOVA member benefits year after year at no additional charge.
We offer several discounted membership options:
Group membership – 5 or more individuals from the same agency
Senior membership – available to individuals 60+ years old
Student membership – available to current students at any educational level
Military membership – available to all active-duty, reservist, National Guard, and advocates employed by the DoD or DHS
Volunteer Victim Advocate – available to individuals volunteering their time as a victim advocate
NVAA Alum – Available to graduates of NOVA’s Victim Assistance Academy
No, NACP and D-SAACP are separate programs from the NOVA membership.
Agency memberships are limited to elected or appointed individuals. Please contact us for more information: 703-535-6682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are pleased to offer a group discount for 5 or more staff from the same agency. Please contact us for more information: 703-535-6682 or email@example.com.
To purchase memberships for more than one person, you can either sign each person up online separately, or we would be happy to process a bulk payment if you contact our office at 703-535-6682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support! If you have any additional questions, please contact us at 703-535-6682 or email@example.com.
September 14, 2018
Animal Cruelty and Interpersonal Violence:
Making the Connection
On February 14, 2018, the nation joined the Parkland, Florida community in expressing outrage, grief, and outpourings of support for the 17 victims, survivors, and loved ones affected by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the aftermath of this horrific act of violence, we learned more about the 19-year old shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and the many “red flags” that were missed. Among the warning signs identified, a history of cruelty toward animals was described by several witnesses. In making this connection, Cruz joins a long line of perpetrators—both high profile killers and “everyday” perpetrators of interpersonal violence—whom threaten, harm or kill animals in addition to human victims.
Through a growing body of research, we now know that animal cruelty can be an indicator—or red flag—for other forms of interpersonal violence, including domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. All too often, perpetrators manipulate the strong bond that many pet owners have with their animals, and pets are threatened, hurt or killed as a method of control and a form of emotional abuse. In cases of domestic violence, multiple studiesshow that 18-48% of battered women delay leaving abusive situations out of fear for their pets’ safety. Similarly, among older adults, animal abuse and neglect may be a warning sign of elder abuse, or a red flag for self-neglect, animal hoarding or other behavioral problems. In a 2000 study, 35% of adult protective service caseworkers reported their clients talked about pets being threatened, injured, killed or denied care. Furthermore, in a 2003 survey, 92% of adult protective service caseworkers found animal neglect co-existing with clients who were unable to care for themselves, and 75% of clients reporting concern for their pets’ welfare affected their decision on accepting intervention or other services.
During October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, victim advocates, adult protective service caseworkers, animal control officers, and other first responders have a unique opportunity to raise awareness and develop multidisciplinary teams to prevent and respond to all forms of violence. Many communities across the countryhave already developed model programs involving interagency cross-training; inclusion of animal care and control representatives on family violence task forces; updating intake forms and risk/lethality assessments to include questions on the presence of pets in home and treatment of animals; and establishment of safe havensto temporarily house pets when domestic violence victims flee abusive homes. Additionally,state animal cruelty lawshave–and continue to be– strengthened as the link is recognized, and many statesnow allow pets to be included in domestic violence protective orders and/or require professionals in certain disciplines to report suspected animal cruelty. For communities interested in starting a program, the National Link Coalition serves as the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence, and provides training and technical assistance. As we kick-off DVAM, it is on all of us to collaborate to end all forms of family violence.
Article written by Claire Ponder Selib, Deputy Director of NOVA.