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:
referrals to other organizations
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.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN VICTIMIZED IN BURLINGTON, CONTACT OUR VICTIM SERVICES SPECIALIST:
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.
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.
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
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:
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 Coordinator, Burlington Police Department, 1 North Ave. Burlington VT, 05401
(802) 557-7232, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Jolly, Assistant Director, Burlington Community Justice Center, 200 Church St. Burlington VT, 05401
(802) 865-7185, email@example.com
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
Jane Helmstetter – 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
Lisa Bedinger, Director, South Burlington Community Justice Center