Christine Ward – Executive Director
I began assisting victims of crime and advocating for victims’ rights over 25 years ago. My career in victim assistance/advocacy started in San Diego where I worked on the crisis hotline as a volunteer at the Center for Women Studies and Services (now Center for Community Solutions). Soon after, I began to provide accompaniment and support to sexual assault victims at evidentiary exams. The volunteer work was so rewarding, I realized that this was what I wanted to do as a profession.
My first job was for WEAVE in Sacramento, CA where I coordinated the volunteer program. I have since worked for centers across the county, developing and managing programs that assist victims of violent crime. I have had the opportunity to present at conferences and other training opportunities across the country on a variety of topics including victim support/assistance, victim advocacy, crime specific topics such as domestic violence, sexual assault, drug facilitated sexual assault, homicide, traumatic memory loss, as well as professional and personal development.
I have created outreach tools to improve awareness, and encourage activism, around issues pertaining to victims of crime, crime prevention and victims’ rights. I was the co-creator, with Jessica Heskin, of the internationally recognized Watch Your Drink – Watch Your Friends drug facilitated sexual assault educational program and have presented on this program across the US and Canada.
I have worked extensively with various law enforcement agencies, across the country, to improve communication with and assistance to victims of crime. I have been honored with awards and recognition for my work assisting victims of crime and in advancing victims’ rights.
I was honored with a special recognition award from the Trenton, New Jersey Police Department for service and dedication to victims of domestic violence and for providing training the Trenton Police Officers. I received the California Governor’s Crime Victim Advocacy Award for dedication to serving victims of violent crime, and I was presented with an award from the California District Attorneys Association for my commitment to assisting victims through the parole hearing process in California. In 2009 I was appointed by the Governor to the state Domestic Violence Program Advisory Council and was re-appointed to the Council in 2015.
As for my education, I started out with a focus on becoming a psychotherapist, however, I soon realized that my passion lies in advocating for victims and survivors. I hold a BA in psychology and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on non-profit management. I began to work in this field because I am survivor of violent crime and understand the hurt and hardships that accompany surviving violence.
I have been mentored by some of the very best advocates in the field, and I am so grateful for their time and commitment to the field. I feel fortunate that my work is also my passion and am humbled daily by the amazing victims and survivors that I meet and work with; they continue to educate me on what is working and what needs to be improved in our criminal justice system.