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Mary Lawrence

2003 National Crime Victim Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Mary Lawrence | National Crime Victim Service Award
Onondaga County District Attorney's Victim Advocate Program
Baldwinsville, New York

In 1990, Mary Lawrence's only brother, whom she helped raise, was murdered. Lawrence began volunteer work with crime victims at the Volunteer Center, Inc. in Syracuse, New York. At the Volunteer Center, she helped establish a Victim Advocate Program that provided enhanced services for families and victims in cases where a violent crime had occurred. 

Supported by funding she obtained from the New York State Crime Victims' Board, Lawrence accompanied victims and their families to hospitals, funeral homes, and police stations, and was available to guide them throughout the criminal justice process. Lawrence's support for victims of violent crimes and homicides continues on a full-time basis at the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office. She also manages and co-facilitates the Homicide Victims' Family Support Group on her own time. 

Over the past 10 years, she has personally provided support to hundreds of family members of homicide victims and thousands of other people affected by serious crimes. Homicide investigators routinely contact her when they first receive a report of a homicide so she may provide immediate assistance to family members. This early support also frequently aids the police investigation. 

Lawrence has advocated for stronger laws for victims at state legislative hearings, educated new recruits on victims' rights at the police academy, and lectured at local college and high school classes.