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Laura Abbott

2019 Volunteer for Victims Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Laura Abbott | Volunteer for Victims Award
Victims' Rights Arkansas
Cabot, Arkansas

Laura Abbott experienced horror in 2012 that few people can identify with as her husband intentionally struck her with his vehicle and left her for dead, alone, in a remote mountaintop parking lot. Today she is a survivor in every sense of the word and a dynamic and effective volunteer promoting victims’ rights and services. 

After surviving the assault, Ms. Abbott saw firsthand the gaps that existed in the notification victims receive about their rights and the resources available to them. She immediately began to advocate for bridging these gaps and became a pivotal voice in creating legislative reform. 

Ms. Abbott partnered with four members of the Arkansas General Assembly in 2015 to draft legislation that included creation of a statewide “victims’ rights card,” victimless prosecution, a statewide lethality assessment, and mandating education in public schools about teen dating violence and healthy relationships. Collaborating with numerous Arkansas agencies, Ms. Abbott led the creation of “Laura’s Card,” an information card given to victims of violent crime that details their rights as a victim and resources that are available to them (see www.laurascard.ar.gov on the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office website). 

Ms. Abbott also began a grassroots movement, “Victims’ Rights Arkansas,” with the ultimate goal of establishing enforceable victims’ rights through a Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment. She often collaborates with victims, victim services communities, and stakeholders to work toward that goal. She travels the state speaking to educators, high school students, colleges, civic groups, and Arkansas Community Corrections classes—including domestic violence offenders—on victims’ rights and resources, the impact of crime, and adverse childhood experiences. 

Ms. Abbott has been appointed by the Governor to serve on The Arkansas Suicide Prevention Council and the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence. She also works with the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma to include curriculum in schools regarding trauma, mental health, adverse childhood experiences, and a trauma-informed approach. In 2014, Ms. Abbott was recognized as the Arkansas Health Teacher of the Year. 

Despite the enduring trauma from her near-death assault, Ms. Abbott uses her experience and passion to selflessly help others. By volunteering numerous hours and offering her personal resources to help victims of crime, Ms. Abbott has brought awareness to victims’ rights, while highlighting the impact of crime and trauma, and encouraging the post-traumatic growth to thousands across Arkansas.

2019 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about Laura Abbott, 2019 recipient of the Volunteer for Victims Award.