Jeannette M. Adkins, NACP Chair
Jeannette Adkins served as the Director of the Victim/Witness Division of the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office in Xenia, Ohio from its inception in January of 1982. She developed the comprehensive victim assistance program to include 24-hour in-person crisis response for sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and other victims of violence. Ms. Adkins served as the Division’s Director until 2005 when she was appointed to the position of Executive Director for the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). She held that position until October of 2006 when a family illness required her return to Ohio. Ms. Adkins rejoined the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office as the Administrator and also served as Executive Director of Michael’s House Child Advocacy Center until her retirement in December 2014. She holds a BA in Sociology and a MEd in Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Ohio. She is a Credentialed Advocate with Advanced Standing with the National Advocate Credentialing Program, an organization she helped found in 2001. Ms. Adkins also holds a certificate of Registered Advocate with Senior Standing from the Ohio Advocate Network, and is also one of OAN’s founding members. Her passion for professionalizing the field of advocacy was articulated in an article she wrote for the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Networks magazine, titled An Argument for National Credentialing of Victim Service Providers, (Networks, Vol. 16, No. 3-4, Summer-Fall 2001).
Ms. Adkins served as a Special Deputy with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office from 1983 until 1998. She is an active member and Past President of the Ohio Victim Witness Association and has been a long time NOVA member. She has served as a volunteer national training consultant for NOVA, is a Certified Crisis Responder and member of NOVA’s National Crisis Response Team and has been an elected member of the Board of Directors, serving on the Executive Committee from 1995 – 2004, and as President from 2001 until 2003. Ms. Adkins joined the NOVA Board of Directors again in August of 2009 for a three-year term.
Along with a colleague, Ms. Adkins organized and co-coordinated the Ohio Crisis Response Team, a 60+ member statewide team of NOVA-trained community crisis responders, many of whom participated on the NOVA National Crisis Response Team to the New York area in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Ms. Adkins served as the NOVA site manager for the initial 40 member team sent into the New York/New Jersey area during the first week after the terrorist attacks. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales appointed her to the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women in 2006. She is also an appointed member of the Ohio Attorney General’s Victim Advisory Board, served two terms on the Ohio Governor’s Task Force on the Investigation and Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse.
Rhonda S. Barner, NACP Committee Member
Rhonda Barner started her 34-year career as a Victim Advocate when, as a senior at the University of Dayton, she became an Intern with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office Victim/Witness Division – a 24-hour service for victims and witnesses of violent crime, particularly sexual assault. Upon graduation in 1976 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, Ms. Barner was offered a full-time position with the Prosecutor’s Office where she worked as a Victim Advocate for 17 years. In 1992, Ms. Barner was promoted to the position of Director of the Victim/Witness Division. Over the next 17 years, Ms. Barner supervised as many as 15 staff, created many new programs, and was responsible for ensuring the provision of victims’ rights and enhancing the overall advocacy services provided by the Division. Public and school presentations, as well as law enforcement training, were a regular part of Ms. Barner’s duties over the course of her career. In 1990, Ms. Barner developed a Violence Prevention Program to educate the community, particularly students, about alternatives to violent behavior.
Throughout her career, Ms. Barner was actively involved in the Ohio Victim Witness Association (commonly known as OVWA), – a statewide network of victim service providers, which was officially formed in 1978. Ms. Barner held several Executive Committee positions and served as President from 1979 – 1982. Ms. Barner worked with a small group of OVWA members to help craft the legislation that ultimately defined the State Victim Assistance Program and was instrumental in identifying the criteria for those who would serve on the State Victim Assistance Advisory Board. She became the second OVWA President to be appointed by the Ohio Attorney General to serve on the State Victim Assistance Advisory Board and held that position for more than six years. Ms. Barner served as the OVWA Membership Chairperson for a number of years and is a member of the Past President’s Committee. On a national level, Ms. Barner was elected to the NOVA Board of Directors in 1999, serving her first 3-year term until 2002. She rejoined the Board in 2003 and has served as Secretary, Treasurer, President and Immediate Past President.
As part of Ms. Barner’s involvement with OVWA, she helped to establish (in 1993) the Ohio Advocate Network for Training and Registration (commonly known as OAN). OAN is a program that was initiated to enhance the professionalization of the field of victim advocacy by recognizing the years of experience and training of Victim Advocates in Ohio. OAN was the catalyst and model for the formation of the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP). Ms. Barner served as a Co-Chair for the Ohio Advocate Network until 2015, and as a result, was asked to participate on the Review Committee for NACP and the D-SAACP Committee.
Ms. Barner’s interest in the expansion of services to all victims led her to seek out training as a NOVA crisis responder and she joined the Ohio Crisis Response Team (OCRT). As a Crisis Responder she had the honor of participating in a number of local and statewide crisis responses; however, the biggest honor of Ms. Barner’s crisis response service came when she was deployed to serve as Site Manager at the New Jersey Family Assistance Center for 9 days after the September 11th attacks.
Paul B. Freeman, NACP Committee Member
As clinical coordinator for emergency mental health services, with a community mental health center Paul Freeman founded a community rape crisis center in 1979. Paul was the Chief of the Bureau of Victim Rights for the Florida Attorney General’s office, and Senior Victim Advocate for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. He has developed course curricula for victimology studies and served as an adjunct instructor at Kennesaw State University and Florida State University since 1989. Paul has developed training programs and presented trauma impact and initial crisis response training for law enforcement, victim service professionals, and sexual assault nurse examiners. He was also a Master Trainer in Community Crisis Response Team for the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Paul has responded to more than 12 incidents of mass victimizations including the Olympic Centennial Park Bombing (Atlanta, GA 1996), and the World Trade Center Terrorism attacks (New York City 2001). He served on the State of Georgia’s Advisory Board for the development of a state victim assistance academy. Mr. Freeman received his Master of Science degree from Florida State University. As a licensed Professional Counselor, Paul provides a unique skill of mental health experience that has been applied in training for first responders and victim service professionals throughout the country.
Additionally, Mr. Freeman has provided training for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia; on the faculty of the Georgia Victim Assistance Academy; is a clinical consultant for Mosaic Sexual Assault & Child Advocacy Center; and serves on Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team Grant Project, State Expert Committee Meeting. He has provided professional advanced U.S. Department of State trainings throughout the U.S, and internationally (Mexico, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Thailand and England). As a member of the federal training team he was directly involved in the development, editing, and updating of the Consular Assistance to Victims of Crime Resource Manual.
Mr. Freeman currently provides consultation and training to victim service programs drawing from his 40 plus years of frontline experience working with local, state, and federal victim service providers. Recently he retired as a Victim Specialist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta Division. He currently serves on an Advisory Board of Directors of the National Organization for Victim Assistance and is completing his final term on the Child Advocacy Centers of Georgia; and recently served on the Georgia’s Sexual Offenders Registration Review Board.
In addition, Mr. Freeman also currently provides training to law enforcement, prosecutors, S.A.N.E.’s and victim service professionals as a subject matter expert for Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. He has also recently provided trainings for the University of West Georgia on the Neurobiology of Trauma.