Shannon Barker has been selected as the next director of the Victim Witness Assistance Program in Henry County. The federally funded program, which works in conjunction with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, was previously headed by Robin Byrd, who recently retired after 47 years of service to the community.
“I am blessed and honored to have the opportunity to serve as the director of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program,” Barker said. “Helping people is my passion and I want our crime victims and witnesses to know they have a voice, to feel supported as they navigate the criminal justice system, and to be empowered to overcome their trauma. I look forward to continuing the great work that is already being done and finding new and exciting ways to enhance the program.”
Barker began working at the Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in September 2007 as a legal secretary. In July 2014, she became the Assistant Office Administrator. Her previous work experience includes five years of victim advocacy for Citizens Against Family Violence and two years as a Case Management Supervisor for the same organization. Barker graduated from Virginia Tech in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She is also certified to teach courses on domestic violence and sexual assault prevention.
“I look forward to working with Shannon in her new role as the director of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Nester. “She’s developed a deep understanding of the criminal justice system during her time in my office and she exhibits the compassion and drive to help people that will serve her well in her new position. She has big shoes to fill but I’m confident that she will excel at it.”
The Henry County Victim-Witness Assistance Program has been in existence since 1985. The purpose of this program is to assist both crime victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system and to provide services required by Virginia’s Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act. Examples of services provided through the program include explanation of victims’ rights, assistance in obtaining protective orders, helping victims obtain restitution, completing notification forms for various authorities, and connecting victims with counseling and support groups. For more information, visit www.henrycountyva.gov/292/Victim-Witness-Program.