MARYLAND - Dozens of times every year all across the nation Jeff Dion tells the heartbreaking story of his sister's murder.
It was this tragedy that motivated him to become a civil attorney and work for the
"We deal with every type of crime whether it's a violent crime, a financial crime, a crime against seniors, children, trafficking victims," said Dion at a conference in
But it is not who the organization helps but how that makes the Center one of the most progressive advocates of victims' rights.
"We help attorneys understand the issues of trauma and victimization and help them share information with one another,” said Dion. “We help crime victims and victim advocates understand the civil legal remedies available to them."
In a nation where civil lawsuits are often labeled trivial or insignificant, Jeff says it is critical people realize how much they can help victims of crime and their families.
Like Jeff, Steve Kelly also experienced the devastating pain of losing a sister to murder. That is why he has dedicated his work towards helping victims of crime.
"Devastated emotionally, financially, just in every way possible,” said Kelly, a victim-friendly civil attorney who works in
At the time of his sister's murder in 1988, Steve says there were not as many resources for victims of crime. One resource is the civil litigation. He says civil lawsuits help survivors reclaim their lives in a way criminal cases cannot.
"The prosecutor is not the victim's lawyer,” said Kelly. “They're the lawyer for the state. And the state doesn't get cut, the state doesn't get raped, the state doesn't get murdered, the state doesn't suffer financial losses, the state doesn't have privacy concerns. The victim has all these things."
"I go to work every day and I know without any doubt that this is what I'm supposed to be doing,” said Dion.
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