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Darlene E. Averick

2020 Federal Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Darlene E. Averick | Federal Service Award
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Washington, DC

As Supervisory Program Manager of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP), Darlene Averick is a strong advocate for victims of crime. Since 2006, she has overcome resource challenges and inaccurate perceptions. During her career, she secured Department of Justice funding for the VWAP, rewrote ATF policy on victim assistance, and obtained full-time program personnel, while incorporating training mandates for all ATF agents and employees that have contact with victims, bringing the program to its current level of success. 

In 2005, the Bureau identified and notified nearly 1,200 victims. Victim assistance was conducted as a collateral duty assignment—typically taking second place to agents’ main responsibilities. In 2006, Ms. Averick developed and implemented an interactive online ATF VWAP training program for collateral duty coordinators and all ATF agents across the country, which provided information on victims’ rights and their agency’s responsibilities regarding victims. Before long, this training program became a model for other federal agencies. 

Ms. Averick established full-time staffing for the VWAP in 2014; currently staffed with three full-time Regional Victim Witness Specialists, a Victim Specialist/Training Coordinator, and a Victim Notification System Coordinator. Four Special Agents support the program’s training component; and two volunteer coordinators support the critical response team. 

Ms. Averick was instrumental in creating training on topics including Interviewing Victims of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment; Victimology for Public Information Officers; Victimology for Certified Fire Investigators; and critical incident response protocol for mass casualty disasters. The collaboration she developed between the VWAP and ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) branch is critical in serving violent gun crime victims and providing victim notification in cold cases. NIBIN provides investigators with the ability to compare their ballistics evidence against evidence from other violent crimes on a local, regional, and national level, thus providing victims and surviving families with information, and possible closure, that they otherwise may not have received. 

By 2018, Ms. Averick ensured that in-person victim training was provided for 2,200 Special Agents and more than 700 additional staff members; that same year, ATF Specialists identified and served 6,467 crime victims. Ms. Averick’s contributions to the victim assistance field has impacted tens of thousands of crime victims the ATF has encountered over the past 13+ years.

2020 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about Darlene E. Averick, 2020 recipient of the Federal Service Award.