When Lezlie S. Green was elected to serve as the Commonwealth's Attorney for the County of Brunswick one of her priorities was to establish a victim/witness program to serve its citizens. Having served as an Assistant Commonwealth=s Attorney in Greensville County, Green saw first hand the benefits of the program and wanted to be able to offer the same services here in Brunswick County.
Green worked for months to secure local support and complete the necessary grant applications for the state and federal funds needed to establish a program. In June, 1996, Brunswick County was notified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services funds had been awarded and on October 1, 1996 the Brunswick County Victim/Witness Assistance Program officially began providing services to our community.
Betsy Draper has served as the Director of the program since it began. Having established the victim/witness program in Greensville County in 1989, Draper was familiar with what was needed to promote the office and secure continued funding all the while providing services to victims of crime. While Draper was proud of the work she accomplished in Greensville she was excited to have another opportunity to start a new program. She accepted the position effective October 1, 1996 and hasn't looked back.
On October 1, 2016, the Brunswick County Victim/Witness Assistance Program celebrated twenty years of service provision in Brunswick County. In those two decades, the program has assisted the Commonwealth in securing court ordered restitution claims in excess of four million dollars and has provided assistance to more than eight thousand victims of crime.
Draper has seen a lot of changes in victim services in her almost thirty years of public service, admittedly not all positive--but the one constant reward is the gratification of knowing you may have assisted someone at a time when they needed it most. Likewise, the one constant frustration for Draper are the people who may have A fallen through the cracks@ due to her unavailability and a lack of staff. Fortunately, Draper has recently seen a significant decrease in the level of her frustration.
It may have taken twenty years but the Brunswick County Victim/Witness Assistance Program, in cooperation with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, is excited to announce the addition of a full-time program advocate to its staff. Mandy S. Hayes officially began her duties on September 1, 2016.
Mandy brings with her a wealth of criminal justice knowledge having previously been with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office for more than ten years. During her time at the sheriff's office she gained a working knowledge of the services provided by victim/witness and is looking forward to being able to assist those in our community who unfortunately find themselves in need of victim services.