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Advocate honored for her work with rape survivors

As peace officers, prosecutors, and others were in a symposium across the hall discussing cold-case sexual assault investigations and the importance of victim advocates, one who has been on the forefront of educating about and promoting crime victims’ rights for almost 25 years was being honored as part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance.

Teresa M. Stafford, who works as a senior director of victim services and outreach at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC) and as a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) coordinator for Cuyahoga and Lake counties, was presented with the 2018 Robert Denton Special Achievement Award.

For four years, Stafford was employed by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, where she helped develop a witness-victim program and worked with the office’s sexual assault kit task force. Today, her involvement with the task force is through the rape crisis center, where she serves as a consultant and trainer to make sure survivors get the services they need.

Receiving the award was, “very humbling and rewarding at the same time,” she said. “I hope it can be a beacon of hope for other advocates in the field and show that the hard work they are doing for survivors doesn’t go unnoticed.”

The other awards presented at the May 14-15 conference, which drew more than 1,300 victim advocates for presentations, workshops, and networking at the Greater Columbus Convention Center:
  • 2018 Promising Practice Award: Homicide Survivors Youth Initiative Pilot at the Cincinnati Police Department —The Homicide Survivors Youth Initiative Pilot was established by the Cincinnati Police Department’s Victims Assistance Liaison Unit/Cincinnati Citizens Respect Our Witnesses (VALU/CCROW) Program to meet the social and emotional needs of children who have witnessed a homicide or been exposed to other community violence. The pilot program, which is in the process of being implemented permanently, helps youths recognize and cope with their feelings of grief and loss around the issues of homicide and community violence; creates an evidence-based treatment regimen for children to address their social and emotional well-being after witnessing a homicide or being the victim of gun violence; and develops a long-term support system for the children.
  • 2018 Special Courage Award: Hope Dudley, UCanSpeakForMe Inc. — Hope Dudley has worked tirelessly to bring attention to unsolved homicides since her son Daniel “Chaz” Dudley was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2007 in Cincinnati. After his death, she started making bookmarks, flyers, posters, and playing cards featuring unsolved homicide cases in the hope that, by putting a face on violence, she would encourage those with information to come forward. Impressed with her idea, law enforcement officials unveiled a statewide pilot project in 2008 using posters based on Dudley’s works. To further her cause, Dudley started UCanSpeakForMe Inc. in 2009. The nonprofit assistance program is designed to educate victims and their families about the criminal justice system, promote an anti-violence message, and encourage cooperation between victims and the court system.  
  • 2018  AGvocate Award: Shawn Moser, Ohio Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Section — As a lead investigator in the Crime Victim Services Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Shawn Moser processes the most complicated claims received by the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation Program. Moser has been instrumental in outreach efforts to educate Ohioans about the services available. He also conducts professional training at the Attorney General’s Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) and the Basic Advocacy Skills in Crime Victim Services (BASICS) Academy, a weeklong course the section conducts for victim advocates.