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Jennifer Dunn

2021 National Crime Victim Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Jennifer Dunn | National Crime Victim Service Award
Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office
Waukesha, Wisconsin

For 26 years, Jennifer Dunn has provided direct services to crime victims on a 24-hour basis, including responding on-scene to three mass shootings. Throughout her career, she has expanded her programs in innovative ways, increasing personnel, services, resources, and emergency funds for victims, while also leading others to do the same. 

After graduating law school in 1994, Ms. Dunn worked as a legal advocate at a domestic violence organization in Washington County, Wisconsin. There, she helped hundreds of victims with restraining orders and safety planning, and also worked to improve the countywide response to domestic violence. She co-founded Washington County’s first domestic violence-focused Coordinated Community Response team, created a domestic violence resource guide, and created a chart to assist victims and their advocates in preparing for restraining order hearings. 

In 1997, Ms. Dunn became the Waukesha District Attorney’s Office Director of Victim Services. In her 23 years in that role, she has expanded the program far beyond its initial reach, helped thousands of crime victims, and has become well-known in Wisconsin as a leader, innovator, and collaborator in the work of victim services. During that time, Ms. Dunn shepherded her county through two constitutional amendments for crime victims. Both times, she worked with every part of the justice system to implement changes to procedures, educate partners about requirements of the new laws, and ensure compliance and better services and understanding of crime victims’ experiences. 

Ms. Dunn expanded a part-time domestic violence response team into a 24-hour mobile crisis unit that assists victims of all crime types. In December 2020, Ms. Dunn achieved her dream by adding a facility dog to her program to comfort anxious victims, particularly children. She has written curriculum that is used in statewide victim services education, and continually provides training and technical assistance to her colleagues across the state. She obtained funding and established consultants that provide technical assistance to all Wisconsin Victim Witness programs. 

Ms. Dunn has been a passionate voice for victims’ rights, has testified on behalf of change, and proposed legislation about victim privacy, restitution, access, and more for crime victims. She has improved the justice process locally and statewide, and many programs have adopted her practices.

2021 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about Jennifer Dunn, 2021 recipient of the National Crime Victim Service Award.