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Attorney General Mark Herring honors victims’ advocates

mark herringAttorney General Mark R. Herring commemorated National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by honoring ten victims’ advocates at the second annual Unsung Heroes Awards ceremony in Richmond. The Unsung Heroes Awards honor Virginians who have dedicated themselves to serving victims and fighting for their rights.

“The men and women we are honoring today with the Unsung Heroes Awards have devoted their time and efforts to victims’ services. These big-hearted Virginians come in early, stay late, work through lunch, and come in on weekends, stopping at nothing to make sure they help victims who may not know where else to turn,” said Attorney General Herring. “Each of them has provided comfort and assistance to victims during their darkest hours, and worked tirelessly to support people who have been victimized in terrible and tragic ways.I am honored to have the opportunity to give them each the recognition they so deserve.”

Recipients of this year’s Unsung Heroes Awards

Duane Barlow, Detective, Chesapeake Police Department
Chesapeake, Virginia

Detective Duane Barlow has been working for the Chesapeake Police Department for approximately 12 years, with eight of those years spent in the Vice and Narcotics Unit. During his time in the unit he became one of the go-to detectives for prostitution operations. In August 2017, Detective Barlow began working full time as a member of the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force. He has since shifted towards a victim-centered approach to these operations and has been instrumental in recovering two juveniles.

Joni Perry Coleman, Coordinator, Wise County Victim/Witness Program
Wise, Virginia 

Joni Perry Coleman is the coordinator of the Wise County/City of Norton Victim/Witness Assistance Program where she assists victims navigating the criminal justice system. Joni has worked in the victim services field for 12 years, beginning her career at a domestic violence/sexual assault crisis center. She currently serves on the Governing Body of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, participates in local task forces, the Community Coordinated Response Team, and the Concerned About Our Community Coalition. She has been instrumental in forming the Southwest Virginia Joint Senior Abuse Task Force.

Steven L. Cooke, Master Police Officer, Hampton Police Department
Hampton, Virginia

Steven L. Cooke is a detective with the Hampton Police Division, assigned to the Special Investigations Unit. He is also a member of the Hostage Negotiations Team, the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, is a Crisis Intervention Team Instructor, and is part of the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force. As a member of the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force, Detective Cooke has provided many lectures to victim/witness advocates, citizens, and officers with Hampton Police Division regarding the issue of human trafficking and he has investigated many human trafficking cases, attempting to providing support for the victims while going after trafficking suspects.

Elvira G. De la Cruz Macedo, Chief Programs Officer, The James House
Prince George, Virginia

Elvira De la Cruz is a bilingual Spanish/English trained professional in the fields of domestic and sexual violence. Over the past nine years, she has provided and supervised the delivery of crisis intervention, case management, court accompaniment, legal advocacy, hotline services, and community referrals. She has been working closely with Virginia’s Hispanic community through and has implemented a robust program to serve Spanish-speaking victims of domestic and sexual violence at The James House.

Marilyn A. Dufrat, Director, Stafford County Victim/Witness Program
Stafford, Virginia

As the Director of Stafford County’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program, Marilyn Dufrat continually strives to assist crime victims who are involved in the criminal justice process. With over 16 years of dedicated support to victims, she is known for combining a passionate commitment to the community with a multi-disciplinary approach to services at the local level. She facilitated unprecedented partnerships by forming the Rappahannock Regional Domestic Violence Council, initiated a civil protective order response process, and introduced and directed Virginia’s first Courthouse Dog Program.

Judy Holl, Program Coordinator, Alexandria Victim/Witness Program
Alexandria, Virginia

Judy Hall has been in the field of victim services since 1988, working first as a student sexual assault activist, and then as a volunteer with the Stephanie Roper Committee (now the Maryland Crime Victim Resource Center) where she provided court companion services to victims and facilitated support groups for homicide and sexual assault survivors. Since 1992 she has worked in Alexandria’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program. In 2001, she had the honor to provide support services at the pentagon family assistance center following the September 11th attack, and in 2002 she was promoted to Victim/Witness Coordinator

Theresa C. Hudson, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Winchester, Virginia

Theresa Hudson joined the FBI as a Special Agent in 1999. She has held various roles in the bureau and in 2015, she started a working group of area law enforcement officers focused on the investigation of human trafficking. The working group became a funded tasked force, the I-81 Human Trafficking Task Force, which she now coordinates. She is also a crisis negotiator with the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Team.

Teresa E. Layne, Assistant Director, Tazewell County Victim Witness Program
Tazewell, Virginia

Teresa Layne has worked as the Assistant Director with the Tazewell County Victim/Witness Assistance Program since 2001. Teresa’s drive and passion for helping people has been her focus for nearly seventeen years. In addition to assisting victims in court, she goes above and beyond to help them piece their lives back together. Teresa is extremely active in the community and educating Tazewell County youth about social issues that affect their lives. Teresa works closely with many government and local agencies, hospitals, schools and churches to improve the quality of life for all Tazewell County citizens.

John Mahoney, Victims of Crime Act Administrator, Dept. of Criminal Justice Services
Richmond, Virginia

John Mahoney has more than 25 years of experience managing statewide victim assistance grant programs. He currently serves as Virginia’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Administrator out of the Department of Criminal Justice Services and works with colleagues at DCJS and victim advocates and allied professionals statewide to expand victim assistance projects utilizing newly available federal VOCA funds. He also analyzes crime victim-related legislation and provides training and technical assistance in the areas of grant planning and administration and victim-related policy.

Ester M. Marshall, Victim Specialist, Richmond City Victim/Witness Program 
Richmond, Virginia

Ester Marshall has been a Victim/Witness Specialist with the Richmond Victim/Witness Assistance Program for seventeen years, during which time she has worked with hundreds of victims of crime, with particular expertise working with the families of homicide victims. In 2008 she was one of the founders Richmond’s Homicide Support Group, which grew out of Ester’s desire to provide fellowship and support for grieving families and stands currently as one of the longest running support groups of its kind in the state.

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