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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Helene R. Davis

October 19, 2010

Helene Davis grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, receiving her AA in Business Administration and worked as a mental health professional.  In 1980, she and her family moved to Oakland, California, where she continued to work in children’s mental health services.  In 1989, Ms. Davis’ son was murdered and she began her work on behalf of homicide victims and other victims of violent crime.  From 1991 - 2013, she was co leader of the first support group specifically for families of homicide victims in the Oakland Metropolitan area.  Ms. Davis served as a State Commissioner of Juvenile Justice, Crime, and Delinquency Prevention from 1994 through 2002.  In 1996, she became a founding member of a local group, Mother’s Against Murder and Assault (MAMA).  MAMA provided rehabilitative services to youth in the custody of the Alameda County Probation Department, aiding in their successful reentry to  the community and reduction in recidivism.  In 2003, she received the California Senior Leaders Award from the University of California, Berkeley.  Ms. Davis continued with that group until 2013 when she moved from the Bay Area.  Currently she consults with crime victims’ families with emphasis on preparing victim impact statements.  Ms. Davis joined the Board of Directors of NCVLI in 2002.

What would you most like to see NCVLI or the victims’ rights movement accomplish over the next five years?  Twenty years?
Over the next five years I would like to see the passing of a national Victims’ Rights Amendment.  This would require a collaborative effort between the legal and victim services communities. Work done by NCVLI is increasingly bringing these groups together and I believe continued education and collaborative work will make the need for victims’ rights an undeniable fact.  Within the next 20 years I would like to see the rights of victims become an integral part of the judicial system in this country.

Why should someone get involved with NCVLI and victims’ rights?
I believe every citizen in this country should have a vested interest in increasing victims’ rights.  Victims left unsupported often live with a sense of desperation and abandonment from those factors in our society that they have spent years investing and believing in.  NCVLI is the only organization I know of whose focus is “victim-centered” and who is willing to bring all the players to the table to learn why victims’ rights are so important. 

To read more of Helene’s thoughts on the future of victims’ rights and why it is so important to continue the work NCVLI does for victims, click here.