HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape presented Carol Lavery with the 2011 Pennsylvania Visionary Voice Award, April 6 at the Rotunda, Capitol Building in Harrisburg during its annual advocacy day.
Lavery earned the award in 2011 for her career-long dedication to helping victims of crime and advocacy for sexual assault victims and their families.
“I’m thrilled to join such an outstanding group of activists and advocates who have received the Visionary Voice Award,” Lavery said. “This award provides an opportunity to reflect on my 35+ years of advocacy for victims of sexual assault, the ups and downs of battles won and lost, experiences which I value so highly.”
Each year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a project founded by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, recognizes the creativity and hard work of individuals around the country who have demonstrated outstanding advocacy and community work to end or prevent sexual violence.
“Carol has dedicated her entire life to helping victims,” PCAR Chief Executive Officer Delilah Rumburg said. “She’s risked going to jail to protect victims’ rights and has been instrumental in including victim interests on numerous legislative issues over the years. She is the model of what the Visionary Voice Award is all about.”
Lavery currently serves as the Commonwealth Victim Advocate—a position Governor Edward Rendell appointed her to in 2006. She is responsible for representing the rights and interests of crime victims before the Board of Probation and Parole and the Department of Corrections, and oversees the state’s Address Confidentiality Program.
“I believe so strongly in justice for victims,” Lavery said. “And in a society that values the needs and rights of victims and survivors, not just offenders. And I believe that we can accomplish that by standing together, with patience and persistence.”
Prior to her work as Victim Advocate, Lavery served for 10 years at the Office of Victim Services at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency where she was responsible for victim service related policy.
She also was responsible for the Commonwealth’s Victims Compensation Assistance Program. Accomplishments during her tenure include, doubling the number of victims reimbursed for their monetary losses each year through the assistance program and reducing the time it took to reimburse victims from six months to less than eight weeks.
Lavery is a former PCAR board president and one of the founders of PCAR, the oldest coalition against rape in the country. Among her impressive biography and accomplishments include her willingness to go to jail to protect the rights of a victim.
Lavery also was instrumental in successfully supporting legislation to cover the victim’s costs for proper forensic examinations after a sexual assault with dollars from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund in Pennsylvania.
She is one of 22 recipients nationwide to receive the award. For a complete list of the 2011 award winners, visit www.nsvrc.org/news/3754.