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Parallel Justice


Mural by Mary Lacey

Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime

Parallel Justice is a victim-centered approach to crime and harm that works parallel to (but independent from) the criminal legal system.


We provide information, resources, and support to people victimized by crime and harm in Burlington, even if the person responsible for causing the harm is never identified or apprehended.

We support people impacted by all crimes and frequently help victims of vandalism, simple assault, and theft.

Parallel Justice assistance can include:

  • emotional support

  • safety planning

  • information 

  • referrals to other organizations

  • systems advocacy

  • financial assistance to meet basic needs.

Anyone can contact the Parallel Justice program for confidential support, information, and resources related to victimization and harm. Crimes do not need to be reported to the police in order to receive assistance.


Brigid Blazek - (Burlington Police Department):, (802) 557-7232

Lauren Monaco Eddings- (Community Justice Center based) (802) 503-2997

Note: Parallel Justice Victim Services Specialists are mandated reporters and must let authorities know if you tell them about certain crimes, usually involving abuse of a child or a vulnerable adult, or a threat of imminent harm.

Parallel Justice: A Paradigm Shift in Serving Victims

The term Parallel Justice was coined by Susan Herman, former Executive Director of the National Center

for Victims of Crime. "Parallel Justice" describes a system that works parallel to the criminal legal system

and meets the needs of people impacted by crime and harm every step of the way,

independent of whether or how the crime was reported,  or what happens with an investigation or prosecution.

The Guiding Principles of Parallel Justice are:

Justice requires helping victims of crime rebuild their lives.​

All victims deserve justice.

All victims should be presumed credible unless there is reason to believe otherwise.

Victims’ safety should be a top priority.

Victims should experience no further harm.

Victims’ rights should be implemented

and enforced.

Victims should have opportunities to talk about their experiences and their needs.

Victims should be told that what happened to them was wrong, and that every effort will be made to help them rebuild their lives.

Victims’ needs should be addressed through a comprehensive, coordinated community response.

Decisions about how to address victims’ needs should be based on sound information and research.

The National Center for Victims of Crime has been instrumental in supporting the vision of Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime

Additional Partner Organizations include:

Burlington Community Justice Center 

Burlington Police Department 

Do you want to learn more about Parallel Justice in Burlington?

Do you want to incorporate aspects of dedicated victim services and Parallel Justice in your community? 

​Download our Parallel Justice Implementation Guide,

“Building Parallel Justice” to learn about the path of Parallel Justice 

in Burlington and how you may replicate it in your community.​

Are you a victim-centered organization?

What is your current response to victims of crime?  

Our Self-Assessment of Victim-Centered Practices is a tool for organizations, agencies, and businesses to build awareness about

how they respond to people who experience crime and harm.

The Burlington Parallel Justice program can provide workshops and presentations for your group or organization! 

Parallel Justice strives to disrupt behaviors, attitudes,

and beliefs that perpetuate cycles of violence.

We seek to expand our efforts to meet the needs of an

increasingly diverse Burlington and Chittenden County community.

Parallel Justice Program Staff

  • Brigid Blazek, Victim Services Specialist, Burlington Police Department, 1 North Ave. Burlington VT, 05401

(802) 557-7232,

  • Lauren Monaco Eddings, Victim Services Specialist, Burlington Community Justice Center, 200 Church St. Burlington, VT 05401 (802) 503-2997

  • Barbara Shaw-Dorso, Victim Services Manager, Burlington Community Justice Center, 200 Church St. Burlington VT, 05401

(802) 264-0765,

Parallel Justice Commission

Burlington's Parallel Justice Commission is a panel of local

and state leaders, victim advocates, survivors of crime,

social service and health care providers, and other organizations whose work intersects with victims of crime.

Through their partnership, the Commission works to

coordinate resources and create systemic change 

for people impacted by crime and harm. 

The Charge of the Burlington Parallel Justice Commission is to:

  • Seek out and listen to victims’ experiences;

  • Identify challenges and successes to affect change to policies, procedures, and processes within their own organizations;

  • Work together to improve inter‐agency relationships, connections, and collaborations;

  • Function as a multi‐disciplinary team to address barriers and improve results for victims;

  • Advocate for victims’ rights;

  • Improve access to victim services and community resources.

​Parallel Justice Commissioners

  • Omara Rivera-Vazquez – Grants Manager, VT Center for Crime Victim Services

  • Barbara Rachelson – Vermont State Representative for Chittenden County

  • Erika Smart – Assistant General Counsel, University of Vermont Medical Center

  • Danielle Levesque – Victim Services Specialist, VT Dept. of Corrections

  • Heather Danis – Health Services District Director, Burlington Office, Vermont Department of Health

  • Kerri Duquette-Hoffman – Field Director, Agency of Human Services

  • Joe Speidel – Local Government and Community Relations Director, University Relations, University of Vermont

  • Mike Bensel – Executive Director, Pride Center of Vermont

  • Acting Chief Jon Murad – Burlington Police Department

  • Karen Burns – Victim Advocate, Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office

  • Sarah George – Chittenden County State’s Attorney

  • Sarah Robinson – Deputy Director, Vermont Network Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

  • Natania Carter, Interim Executive Director, HOPE Works

  • Nicole Kubon, Executive Director, Steps to End Domestic Violence

  • Jeffrey McKee– CEO, Community Health Centers of Burlington

  • Jill Evans, Director, Essex Community Justice Center 

  • Josef Lavanway, Director, South Burlington Community Justice Center

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