MARIETTA - As the victim advocate for the Marietta City Law Director's Office, Jackie Harris is the main line of support for victims of domestic violence, assault, stalking, menacing, harassment and other violent crimes.
Harris helps victims throughout the process of prosecuting a crime's perpetrator. Whether it be giving the victims case information, advocating for them in court, providing information about their legal rights, getting their input about sentencing or helping to recover costs, Harris supports the victims throughout the process.
"I attend court with the victims. I help them get protection orders. I call them with court dates and updates about their case," explained Harris of some of her many duties.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Jackie Harris, victim advocate for the Marietta City Law Director’s Office, acts as an emotional support system and an advocate for justice for victims of violent crime.
Harris also acts as the line of communication between the victims and the prosecutors.
"I report back to prosecutors what the victims' concerns are and what they want the outcome to be," said Harris.
Harris has been the city's victim advocate for eight years. She graduated from Marietta College with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She first started working with victims of domestic violence at EVE, Inc. in Marietta, before being hired by the city in 2004.
Occupation: Victim advocate, Marietta City Law Director's Office.
Duties: Provides emotional support, legal information and advocacy for victims of violent crime, as well as writes and maintains her own grant.
Interests: Boating, traveling, shopping, rooting for The Ohio State University and her dog Chloe.
Prosecuting Attorney Timsi Pathak, who handles the domestic violence cases for the city law director's office, said Harris is an invaluable part of the office.
"She makes our job easier because she is able to act as a liaison with our victims. She works with the victims to get the information we need to prosecute," said Pathak.
City Law Director Paul Bertram agreed that Harris is an indispensable employee.
"Jackie is very important. She helps counsel these people and helps prepare the law directors for their testimony in very emotional and highly charged situations," said Bertram.
Though Harris works with the lawyers to try to get a resolution that will give the victims closure, it does not always work out that way.
"The hardest part is when the outcome does not match what a victim would like to happen," said Harris.
Harris has seen hundreds of victims, young and old, male and female, go through the court process during her tenure as the city's victim advocate. Knowing what they have been through and helping them relate that to the court can be emotionally strenuous, but Harris said being in the court room to support the victims is the most rewarding part of the job.
"It is important to be there as a support system for somebody," said Harris.
Harris also enjoys attending seminars that keep her informed and up-to-date about her field. Two weeks ago she attended the Victims of Crime's National Conference in New Orleans.
"You pick from different workshops. They can do legislative updates on the law, or seminars on new research and new therapies," explained Harris of the conference.
On top of her many other responsibilities, Harris also writes and maintains the grant for the city's Victim Information Program.
For the foreseeable future, Harris plans to continue advocating for violent crime victims.
"They don't have an attorney, so they don't know what to expect. I'll be here to help them feel more at ease with the whole process," said Harris.