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National Crime Victim Law Institute

2015 Gail Burns-Smith Excellence in Victim Services Award: Johanna Costa

June 02, 2015


Johanna Costa

2015 Gail Burns-Smith Excellence in Victim Services Award


A member of our Board of Directors from 2002 until her untimely death in 2009, Gail Burns-Smith was a tireless leader in the victim services community.  This award honors her legacy by recognizing outstanding efforts to advance the rights of crime victims.


Johanna Costa is the Director of Victim Services at the Washington County District Attorney’s Office in Hillsboro, Oregon, where she leads a team of 20 staff and volunteer advocates in supporting victims of all types of crime. She is currently the Vice President of the Crime Victims’ Assistance Network and Co-Chair of the State Victim Assistance Academy Curriculum Committee. She also serves on the Oregon Attorney General’s Crime Victims’ Rights Task Force and is a member of the Washington County Sexual Assault Response Team, Elder Abuse Response Team, Domestic Violence Intervention Council, Child Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Intervention Team, and Animal Protection Multi-Disciplinary Team. In 2013, she was recognized by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum with a Crime Victims’ Rights Week Award for her team’s response to the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting. Her advocacy takes her around the state where she educates and mentors other advocates in victims’ rights and sexual assault response. She lives in Portland with her foster son and her husband. 

Past Recipients (formerly the Victim Advocacy Award):

o    Gail Burns-Smith (2004)

o    Kathy Skaggs (2005)

o    Diane Moyer (2006)

o    John Stein (2007)

o    Roberta Roper (2008)

o    Steve Derene (2009)

o    Steve Doell (2010)

o    Anne Seymour (2011)

o    Jennifer Storm (2012)

o    Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura (2013)

o    Cathy Harper Lee (2014)