On Wednesday, April 13th, 2016, the DC Victim Hotline officially launched with a breakfast event, coupled with an Office of Victim Services and Grants (OVSJG) resource fair. While we have been in operation since October of 2015, this event marked our first public announcement and coincided with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. We were thankful to have the support of numerous community partners who attended the event, as well as special guests Michelle Garcia, the Director of the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, William Kellibrew, crime victim advocate and founder of the William Kellibrew Foundation, and Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, the DC Council Representative of Ward 5.
Director Garcia spoke to the hotline’s purpose in providing a gateway to services for underserved populations, and reiterated her support of the hotline as a valuable resource for all who have been victimized in DC. Following Director Garcia’s introduction, Victoria Hougham, the Director of Victim Services at the National Center for Victims of Crime, gave an overview of the hotline, the services it provides, and the specialists working on the hotline. We were fortunate to hear Mr. Kellibrew’s personal story of how crime has shaped his life, and were moved by his calls for continued funding for services that provide assistance for victims in the District. Councilmember McDuffie also spoke about his support for funding programs that provide comprehensive services for victims of crime. We sincerely appreciate his consistent support of the work that is being done to restore hope to victims within the District.
The speakers were followed by a question and answer session with both Director Garcia and Ms. Hougham. Both discussed the training process for hotline specialists, outreach efforts, as well as the current operating hours of the chat and text services.
Since Wednesday, the hotline has gotten a tremendous amount of media coverage, and we could not be more pleased by the attention being shown to this invaluable resource for District residents. Articles about the hotline launch appeared with numerous news agencies, including The Washington Post, DCist, WTOP, and Councilmember McDuffie’s website.
From L to R: NCVC Board Member Phil Gersen, NCVC Executive Director Mai Fernandez, William Kellibrew and his grandmother, Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, OVSJG Director Michelle Garcia, NCVC Director of Victim Services Victoria Hougham (Via @KenyanMcDuffie)