Albuquerque, NM – Vickie Duran has had an impressive career in criminal justice spanning 35 years, but advocating for victims is work she says fills her soul.
A self-described “servant-leader,” Duran recently started as the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Services Director, leading the Office’s victim advocates.
“I’m there for [my victim advocates],” Duran said. “I’m in the trenches with them. I’m not someone who just sits behind a desk.”
The District Attorney’s victim advocates support victims, help them understand their rights under the New Mexico Victims of Crime Act, and keep them involved with their cases as they move through the criminal justice system. They also assist crime victims with various needs pertaining to the prosecution of the criminal case including connecting victims to resources and assisting in the courtroom.
Because victim advocates oftentimes work with people who have been touched by violence, Duran said she understands how their job may be stressful at times. That’s why she’s devoted to creating a happy work environment to ensure everyone feels supported.
“One of my goals is to make sure that we as a division and organization don’t become insensitive,” Duran said. “It’s the advocate’s job to keep that sensitivity and compassion and show that we care about what’s happening to you in the process of the case.”
Duran began her career with the Albuquerque Police Department in 1985, eventually working in their Violent Crimes Division. It is this role that gave her insight in the importance of advocacy for victims, witnesses, and their families involved in the trial process.
Healing for victims often begins when they’re a part of the judicial process, Duran said.
“If I can help [the advocates] make a difference in one person’s life [I’ve done my job],” Duran said. “Our job is not just about prosecuting cases, but also changing people’s lives.”
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Brandale Mills Cox, Ph.D.
Office of the Second Judicial District Attorney
520 Lomas Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102