Winners of the Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Awards Announced
January 15, 2021
Governor Tom Wolf recognized Jo Ellen Bowman, Joyce McAneny, Pearl Kim, Gail Brown, Lara Dushkewich, and the Nationalities Service Center’s Immigrant Survivor Services Program as the recipients of the Governor’s Victim Service Pathfinder Awards for their work with crime victims. The annual awards are administered by the Office of Victims’ Services (OVS) in the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).
“I am pleased to announce the award winners, who have gone above and beyond in their efforts for the victims of crime,” Gov. Wolf said. “By highlighting their achievements, we honor their notable contributions to their communities and the victim service provider field.”
The Pathfinder Individual Direct Service Award is presented to Jo Ellen Bowman (HAVIN, Inc. of Armstrong County). She is recognized for serving clients in almost every role possible in the victim services field, including foster care caseworker, therapist, social worker, forensic interviewer, expert witness, and now Executive Director. She also was credited with opening the first Child Advocacy Center in Armstrong County.
The Pathfinder Individual Direct Service Award is presented posthumously to Joyce McAneny (Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh). Ms. McAneny worked for many years as a Legal Advocate and received strong letters of support from colleagues that put forth her nomination. She also helped implement the Maryland Lethality Assessment Program in Pittsburgh, training police officers and developing a system of legal advocacy follow-up for victims who received the assessment.
The Pathfinder Survivor Activist Award is presented to Pearl Kim (Murphy Law Firm), who has done tremendous work in the legal field advocating for victims of sexual assault. She helped write policy recommendations to revise the state’s human trafficking law and obtained the first conviction under the new statute. She also raised awareness by disclosing her own experience as a victim of sexual assault while running for the US House of Representatives.
The Pathfinder Individual Prevention, Education and Outreach Award is awarded to Gail Brown (Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR)). Ms. Brown has conducted thousands of education and prevention programs in her almost 20 years at PAAR. She has worked in schools and jails teaching risk reduction and prevention around loss, trauma, and sexual assault.
Lara Dushkewich (Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC)) receives the Pathfinder Community Service award. She coordinated DVCCC’s Adopt-a-Family program for more than seven years, recruiting more than 200 families and businesses to donate and ensure that families in need would have food and gifts to celebrate the holidays. She has also used her certified therapy dog, Freddie, to serve the clients of DVCCC for more than six years.
Finally, the Pathfinder Program Award is awarded to the Nationalities Service Center’s Immigrant Survivor Services Program (ISSP), which provides culturally responsive support and advocacy for immigrant survivors of torture, human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. They provide training and technical support to law enforcement, frontline healthcare staff, and pro-bono attorneys to help them be mindful and recognize the unique barriers that affect immigrant victims of crime. They also work with other non-profit agencies and community-based organizations to enhance language accessibility, which is often the biggest barrier to service for immigrant victims.
The mission of the PCCD is to enhance the quality, coordination and planning within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to victims of crime, and to increase the safety of our communities.