By Alissa Romstadt
For the past 20 years, Ohio victim advocates have gathered for two days each May to share their skills, passions, and stories of hope and resiliency.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance (TDIM) has become one of the largest and most comprehensive victim advocacy conferences in the nation.
In observation of its two-decade mark, this year’s conference — set for May 16–17 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus — has a theme of “Twenty Years of Resiliency in Ohio.”
“We’re excited to celebrate the progress we have made, and we’re looking to the future to set a tone of victim-centered services,” said Venica Miller, who has coordinated the conference for the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Section for the past eight years.
Prior to the 1990s, individual advocacy groups appealed to the Attorney General’s Office for funding to hold conferences around the state. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office hosted the first statewide conference in 1991.
Ohio’s many specialized advocacy groups remain essential in workshop development and selecting featured speakers for the conference, Miller said. This year’s gathering will include four general sessions and 35 breakout sessions.
“This year’s general session speakers are:
- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose career in public service began in the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, where he learned the importance of advocating for crime victims. He has served as a state senator, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative and U.S. senator.
- Dan Eddy, who has served as executive director of the National Association of Crime Victims Compensation Boards since 1988. Before that, Eddy directed the Crime Victims Project for the National Association of Attorneys General.
- Will Marling, who has given more than 20 years of service in victim assistance and crisis intervention. He serves as executive director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance.
- Robin Rose, a trainer, speaker, consultant, and author of the book “Shifting Gears: A Brain-Based Approach to Engaging Your Best Self.” Her trainings teach people to understand how their brains work and to stay calm, professional, and effective, especially during high-stress, high-pressure situations.
The diversity of TDIM attendees and their interactions during the sessions make each conference unique.
Recently appointed Crime Victim Section Chief Alice Robinson-Bond was especially moved at the 2005 conference, when Grammy-nominated singer Tim Murphy performed “Good Hands.” He wrote the song to his sister, a murder victim, as he grew to accept that she is in a better place.
Robinson-Bond has attended more than a dozen TDIM conferences in various professional capacities. As an assistant prosecutor, she found the sessions a valuable way to gain continuing education credits. They also influenced her work at A Friend’s House, a domestic violence shelter she founded in Madison County, and as an assistant attorney general in juvenile justice and crime victims’ compensation.
“I’m honored to serve victims in whatever capacity I can,” Robinson-Bond said. “The Attorney General’s Office has always had an interest in assisting local victims. We do that, in part, by providing educational ppportunities such as this one to advocates who work most closely with crime victims.”
Last year’s TDIM Conference drew about 1,000 attendees, and organizers are hoping to meet or exceed that turnout this year. With a registration fee of just $50, the conference is reasonably priced, and its central location makes it perfect for professional development and networking, Robinson-Bond said.
Registration forms and session information for this year’s Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance can be downloaded at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/TDIM