Delaware County Victim Services Director Trish Wright was recently presented with the Advocate of the Year award from the Ohio Victim Witness Association.
Wright said she did not know that Nora Flanagan at HelpLine of Delaware & Morrow Counties had nominated her for the award until two weeks ago when she got a phone call telling her that she’d won the award.
“I was a little bit confused,” Wright said. Accredited through the OVWA, Wright added she assumed it was a call about certifications. “I was surprised. I didn’t know what to say.”
Last week, Wright attended a luncheon and was presented the award.
“It felt great to be recognized,” she said. “It really felt great. It’s really difficult.”
Wright said that she used to be a social worker in Columbus but lived in Delaware and grew tired of the commute, so she applied for a job a the Delaware County Victim Services unit, which assists victims of felony crimes and is starting point for 90 percent of civil protection orders filed in the county, Wright explained.
Ten years later, Wright is the director of Victim Services.
In her nomination of Wright, Flanagan praised the work Wright has done as director.
“Trish works relentlessly to fight for the rights of her victims to make sure their voice is being heard at all stages of the criminal justice process,” Flanagan wrote. “Whether she is meeting with victims to update them on court proceedings, attending court hearings with victims or on behalf of the victims, prepping them for trial, assisting them in accessing community based resources, or just lending an ear to listen to the victim, Trish is continuously dedicating herself to her victims.”
Wright said she enjoys her work because in the late 1980s, she was the victim of a crime and did not have a victim services advocate to get help from.
“There were no victim advocates then,” Wright said. “It’s nice to know that’s available now. It definitely feels amazing when you are with a person throughout the entire criminal justice process, regardless of the outcome. It helps them feel validated that someone believed them. It just feels good.”
Wright said she lives in Delaware and wants to be a part of and help the community.
“It feels like my work is important,” Wright said. “We are here to assist people in the community if they feel victimized. Even if you do not have an active criminal case, please still call our hotline if you need help. I live in the community, and I care about the community.”
Wright said the award didn’t just belong to her, but belongs to her staff, Megan Powell and Penny Bennett, as well.
“I couldn’t do anything without those two,” Wright said. “I consider it an award for the whole office.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.