The National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”), the nonpartisan organization for the state attorneys general and their staff, held its first in person meeting for the past two years on August 24 and 25, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia. Hosted by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, the meeting focused on combatting sexual and domestic violence with a focus on supporting victims. Attorneys General Ashley Moody (FL), Lynn Fitch (MS), Josh Stein (NC), Herb Slatery III (TN), Treg Taylor (AK) and Leevin Camacho (Guam) also attended and participated in the panels which focused on evidence-based innovations in the criminal justice system to combat sexual and domestic violence and human trafficking while performing victim-centered law enforcement. Cozen O’Connor State AG Group attorney Mira Baylson participated in the meeting.
Mira noted in particular the tremendous impact of the keynote speaker, Debbie Smith, the Founder of H-E-A-R-T (Hope Exists after Rape Trauma). Smith, herself a survivor and a police officer’s wife, shared her personal story of trauma with the group, the strength she has found via her advocacy to eliminate DNA testing backlogs and her own advice for law enforcement working with victims of sexual or domestic violence. It was a tremendous speech and really set the tone for the rest of the meeting, reminding everyone in the room how important this work is for the victims.