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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Advocate Spotlight: Karla Salp

January 31, 2012

  • Karla Salp, Executive Director of WCCVA

Karla Salp is the Executive Director for the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates (WCCVA), a coalition advocating for improved rights and services for victims of all crime types.  Karla was raised on a farm in George, Washington and her introduction into the world of crime victim services came as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in 2003.  She spent her service year as a Child Advocate for a domestic and sexual violence program serving four counties in rural Montana.  When her service year ended, Karla became the Victim/Witness Coordinator for the Grant County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Ephrata, Washington.  She spent six and a half years there working for victims of all types of crime.  Increasingly discouraged by the treatment of victims in the criminal justice system, she began to work with WCCVA to promote change on a systems level in 2005.  In 2010, Karla moved to Olympia, Washington and became the Executive Director of WCCVA where she passionately works to improve the rights and service available to victims as well as obtaining necessary funding and resources for victim advocates, regardless of crime type.


Karla has this to say about her work with NCVLI and WCCVA:

I first learned of NCVLI when I heard NCVLI present  in 2005 on the legal clinics that NCVLI partners with around the country.  A few months later, our elected prosecutor mentioned filing a motion to have a court-appointed attorney represent the parents of a homicide victim.  I told him about NCVLI and contacted NCVLI.  With NCVLI’s help, we were able to get an attorney for the victim’s family.  After that, I was in regular contact with NCVLI for various issues and referred multiple advocates around the state to NCVLI for help. 

Now that I am working for WCCVA, NCVLI is even more crucial to my work.  WCCVA recently formed a “Victims’ Rights Alliance” - a group of those dedicated to improving the rights afforded victims in Washington.  We are systematically reviewing the rights we currently have and will be creating strategic plans to eliminate the gaps in rights and enforceability.  NCVLI is providing critical guidance and helping us understand how our rights measure up nationally.  Their review was both eye-opening and useful.  We have a lot of work to do in Washington and NCVLI’s support of our efforts is going to make for what I hope will be a dramatic improvement for crime victims.