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Local, state officials christen new office that will help crime victims in 4 western counties

  • Survivor board member Josh Moulton, at podium, drew a laugh at the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, recounting that he told someone in Boston he was from western Massachusetts and they replied, “Oh, Framingham?” Joining him, from left, are Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, MOVA Executive Director Liam Lowney, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance Executive Director Liam Lowney, left, and Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper chat during the grand opening of the new MOVA center in Northampton on Thursday. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper, left, chats with Diana Szynal, District Director for the office of the late state Rep. Peter Kocot, during the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, at podium, addresses about 75 people gathered for the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Joining her, from left, are Survivor Board member Josh Moulton, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, Northwestern DA David Sullivan and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, at podium, addresses about 75 people gathered for the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Joining her, from left, are Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, acting Berkshire DA Paul Caccaviello, Survivor Board member Josh Moulton, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz, MOVA Executive Director Liam Lowney, Northwestern DA David Sullivan and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Yoko Kato, board member of the Children's Advocacy Center, and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan chat during the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, at podium, addresses the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Joining him, from left, are MOVA Executive Director Liam Lowney, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, at podium, addresses about 75 people gathered for the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Behind her are MOVA Executive Director Liam Lowney, left, and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance Executive Director Liam Lowney, at podium, addresses the grand opening of the new MOVA center in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Joining him, from left, are Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Northwestern DA David Sullivan and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, at podium, addresses the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Joining him, from left, are MOVA Executive Director Liam Lowney, Northwestern DA David Sullivan and MOVA Director of Victim Services Diane Coffey. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Acting Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello addresses the grand opening of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance in Northampton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Behind him is Northwestern DA David Sullivan. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



@ecutts_HG
Monday, April 16, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Nearly a decade after losing his sister to domestic violence, Josh Moulton spent part of his Thursday celebrating the opening of a new office in Northampton aimed at helping victims and survivors of crimes.

The Amherst resident, a survivor member of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance governing board, joined dozens of state and local officials at the first satellite office in western Massachusetts. The ribbon-cutting marked the expansion, as well as the announcement of $9 million in grant funding that will be spread across programs and organizations in the four western Massachusetts counties.

“I think it’s really important today to realize how far MOVA has come in addressing some of the concerns about fair representation out in this part of the state,” said Moulton, who joined the MOVA board in 2013 about four years after the death of his sister.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said opening a western Massachusetts office has been a priority and helps to address a disparity of resources available to folks from western Massachusetts compared to those in the eastern part of the state.

“If you are a victim, you need a place to go and you need people to turn to, and you also need to know there is a presence in your community so that you feel safe and feel validated in coming forward,” said Healey, who also serves as chairwoman of the Victim and Witness Assistance Board which governs MOVA. “Fundamentally this is about helping people. This is about taking care of people and is going to be an additional resource at the state level to assist the many wonderful advocates and community organizations that have been doing this work in this area for far too long alone.”

MOVA, the 34-year-old independent state agency based out of Boston, is tasked with advocating for and helping to provide access to services for those impacted by crime through policies developed with input from survivors, training, and individual assistance. The new center, located at 403 Pleasant St. in Northampton, will cover Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire and Hampden counties.

Joining Healey on Thursday were three district attorneys as well as advocates and service providers from throughout the region.

“It’s a great day here in Northampton, great day in western Massachusetts and a great day for victims and survivors in this region who for far too long have gone without access to the kinds of resources and direct services that they deserve,” Healey said. “Nothing is more important to me or to all of us here than to make sure that victims, survivors and their families have the support and resources that they need.”

The four western counties will receive a total of $9 million spread across 25 programs in the region that help victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, homicide, child abuse, drunk driving and other crimes. Grant funding comes through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, which secures money from nontaxpayer fines levied on criminal offenders in the federal courts systems

Two organizations in Franklin County — Franklin North Quabbin CAC and NELCWIT — received a total of $661,070 in grants. Seven organizations in Hampshire County including Safe Passage, the Northwestern Children’s Advocacy Center and Hilltown Community Health Centers received just over $3 million.

In Berkshire County, three organizations — Berkshire County Kids’ Place, Elizabeth Freeman Center and The Brien Center — received a total of $1.2 million.

Four Hampden County organizations will also receive grants.

Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello called the new space a critical step forward for those victims in the western third of the state.

“There is a great need and high value to help people in circumstances they did not ask to be a part of,” said Caccaviello.

In walking distance from his office, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said the new location will be an asset for the entire region and will help further the work of his office and advocates and providers in the four counties.

“One of my prime priorities is to help victims of crime and this just adds another tool in the tool box to help victims of crime,” Sullivan said.

Heading the western Massachusetts office, as well as the serving as the director of MOVA’s victim services, Diane Coffey said having people in the community is a critical component to providing services that meet the need of rural and urban communities.

The satellite office will not replace existing services but provide additional support and resources to those groups to really help them complete their missions, Coffey said.

For Moulton, the new office is not only a physical expansion but a symbolic one as well.

“I think that we need to continue and never lose focus of meeting victims where they are, meeting their immediate needs in the aftermath of tragedy, but I also want to see us asking big questions,” Moulton said. “What is the true nature of victimization and trauma? What are the circumstances that conspire to increase the chances of victimization and how can we intervene earlier so that there are less victims in the future? I know that these are really big daunting questions.”

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.