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President Set to Appoint New Director of Office of Victims’ of Crime

Darlene Hutchinson Biehl is slated to be the new director for the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), under the federal Department of Justice.

The president is expected to make the formal appointment sometime in the next month. The position once required Senate confirmation, but the rules were changed in 2012 to allow a straight appointment.

Hutchinson Biehl has more than 20 years' experience as a crime victims' advocate, working extensively on legislation and public policy, teaching at law enforcement academies and accompanying survivors to court and parole hearings.

In addition, she played a key role in the development of Alabama's victim notification system, as well as the passage and ratification of a Victim's Constitutional Amendment in Alabama.

Hutchinson Biehl’s volunteerism includes 10 years with rape crisis centers in Montgomery, Alabama, and Collin County, Texas, as well as seven years as president of a victims’ support and advocacy group.  

Simultaneously, she worked for 25 years in publishing, including eight years as the editor of law enforcement publications in Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Texas. Plus, she served nearly 6 years as the Communications and Media Director for the Dallas Bar Association.  

According to the announcement from the AG's office, Hutchinson Biehl first became aware of the needs of victims and the inadequacies of the criminal justice system after a stranger kidnapped her at gunpoint from a post office at the age of 20. Blindfolded and bound, she escaped on the second day and led police to the offender, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape and served 20 years in prison.

In an interview, Hutchinson Biehl said, “It’s an enormous honor. I am so humbled by it and very, very optimistic and excited about the prospect of helping victims around the country and doing what we can to improve services to them and making sure their rights are always protected.”

The Office of Victims of Crime was established in 1988 and administers the Crime Victims Fund, which supports an array of programs and services that focus on helping victims in the immediate aftermath of crime and continuing support as they rebuild their lives.

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