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Manhattan woman recognized for service to crime victims

Release Date: Apr 11, 2019

AG Derek Schmidt and Debi HolcombWICHITA – (April 11, 2019) – Debi Holcomb was recognized for her service to crime victims during this week’s Crime Victims’ Rights Conference in Wichita.

Holcomb was presented the Outstanding Statewide Champion Advocacy Award by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt during an awards ceremony yesterday.

Holcomb began her victim services career in 1993 when she became a volunteer, and then night staff for the Crisis Center, Inc. Three years later, she was the protection from abuse coordinator in Geary County, then the volunteer coordinator for the Crisis Center. By 1998, Holcomb developed the first Police Response Advocacy (PRA) Program in Kansas. This was the first program in Kansas to have advocates respond to domestic violence calls while police were on-scene. Her collaborative abilities created so much success that multi-disciplinary teams from Pittsburg and other communities came to Manhattan to see how the PRA program could operate so successfully.

Holcomb created and then became the first director of the Office of Victim Services for the Kansas Department of Corrections, giving it a solid foundation from which it has survived and thrived, helping thousands of victims each year. While serving in that capacity, Holcomb created and implemented the KDOC Victim/Offender Dialogue program, the Victim Service Liaison Program in parole, implemented the Interstate Compact Victim Notification in Kansas, and victim prison tours for those who were interested.

Holcomb has been a facilitator of training for victim service professionals since 2002, and a leader in bringing the Kansas Academy for Victim Assistance (KAVA) to this state. She continues to be a facilitator, and is currently updating the training material for KAVA again. She has also provided leadership in statewide training projects, such as Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protection Orders Program and Improving Criminal Justice Response training projects.

Throughout her years as an advocate, Holcomb focused much of her victim service work on addressing domestic violence effectively. This culminated in her being an analyst and Coordinator for the Kansas Domestic Violence Fatality Review, leading the state in determining findings and pursuing appropriate policy changes.

The Kansas Crime Victims’ Rights Conference was hosted by Attorney General Schmidt and Governor Laura Kelly. The conference featured a number of speakers and trainers focused on raising awareness of emerging crimes and offering new approaches to respond to enduring crimes, such as child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Photo caption: Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt presents the Outstanding Statewide Champion Advocacy Award to Debi Holcomb at the Crime Victims’ Rights Conference in Wichita.

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