January 07, 2016

Board Spotlight: Jennifer Storm

Board Spotlight: Jennifer Storm

Jennifer Storm is an award-winning author who serves as the Victim Advocate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Why did you first get interested in working with NCVLI and victims’ rights?

I met Meg at an OVC training in South Carolina on issues of compliance and enforcement of victims’ rights. I had been working in victim’s right for years but had not known enough about enforcement and compliance. I loved Meg’s passion and in-depth knowledge of the issues and sought out more information on NCVLI. Meg then invited me to come and speak at their annual conference to share my story after publishing my memoir, Blackout Girl. I found the conference to be of such high quality and workshops on issues that I wasn’t finding at other victim’s conference that it became my favorite conference.

What attracted you to Board service generally?

I enjoy being able to lend whatever support, however small I can to an agency that is doing so much good work in the country. It is an honor to serve as a Board member.

What one thing has surprised you or have you learned about victims’ rights since you started your board service?

How hard it still is to get non-victim’s service folks to care about the plight of victim’s rights and to get involved with the great work that NCVLI engages in. The amount of work that NCVLI does across the country for victim’s and agencies is incredible and I wish more people understand the need for funding and support of NCVLI.

As an organization what is NCVLI’s greatest strength?

The legal assistance NCVLI provides is unmatched anywhere else, it is so valuable as an agency head to be able to reach out to NCVLI for a legal opinion and receive back such high quality assessments and options.

What motivates you to do the work on the Board?

I am motivated by the understanding that victim’s and victim service agencies have a unique ability to use the law in our favor to make effective and necessary changes for victims and NCVLI is at the forefront of that work.

What are your hobbies?  

I love to read, write, I take spin classes on my Peloton bike which I am currently obsessed with, I enjoy hiking with my dog, love to travel and explore new places and food!

What has been the most rewarding thing you have done in your professional life?

Being able to travel and share my story with others and educate folks on the importance of victim’s rights is the most rewarding part of my job.  

What has been the most rewarding thing you have done in your personal life?

Publishing Blackout Girl is a huge achievement for me and the books that have followed. I feel blessed to be a foster parent and have the ability to meet these amazing children and help them in a time of need.  

If you had a chance to talk to the U.S. Supreme Court, the President, Congress, or your state’s governor & legislature, what one thing would you tell them about victims’ rights?

How incredibly valuable and instrumental they are to the overall criminal, civil and juvenile justice systems. You cannot have any discussion about reform without including victims voices and rights. Often victims issue are an afterthought in policy and we need to be at the forefront of all these discussions so victim’s concerns and issues are included in the beginning as opposed to having to scurry to ensure inclusion.

When someone asks you what NCVLI does or why victims’ rights are important, what do you tell them?

I tell them that NCVLI is the premier legal assistance agency for crime victims in the country and if you need any legal options or assistance they are the first call to make.

What would you most like NCVLI or the victims’ rights movement to accomplish in the next five years? Twenty years?

To continue keeping our issues in the forefront, to maintain the increases in VOCA funding as it is such a backbone of the work we do, I would love to see victim advocates infused at all levels of policy, government and systems work. I would also like to see a complete elimination of criminal and civil statute of limitations for sexual assault victims.

If you could change one thing about the current victims’ rights environment, be it legal, political, public recognition, victim social/psychological services, etc., what would it be?  

I would like to see the fractions in the various service areas eliminated and more of a cohesive and cooperative victim’s service movement. I would love to see more one stop shops for victims so they do not have to knock on four doors in their community to receive adequate services. This requires a radical shift in the manner with which we deliver services, it would require the elimination of territory and the elimination of the various silos that exist within communities.