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Victims Assistance Center director Elaina Marra to step down May 29

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Elaina F. Marra will resign as executive director of the Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County, effective May 29.

Board President Carole A. McCoy, who also is president of Jefferson Community College, said a search for a new director will begin immediately and board members expect to hire an interim director until the permanent position is filled.

“It’s big shoes to fill,” she said, as she reflected on the 18 years Ms. Marra has remained committed to the agency’s top post.

Ms. Marra joined the agency in April 1995, when it was known as the Jefferson County Women’s Center, after a career as a school caseworker, a psychiatric day treatment caseworker and a vocational rehabilitation counselor at Jefferson Rehabilitation Center.

Attempts to reach Ms. Marra for comment late Thursday were unsuccessful.

Throughout her Victims Assistance Center career, Ms. Marra opened satellite offices of the agency in the Jefferson County district attorney’s office and the Jefferson County Court complex, according to an agency news release. She also helped establish the Immediate Response Team program, with the help of community partners, to pair agency advocates with law enforcement officers at incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Other center highlights of her career include initiating the Child Advocacy Center in 2006 and opening a new shelter for the homeless and victims of domestic violence in 2013.

“It has been my privilege to work with all of my staff members past and present, as well as the broader community, to bring safety through victims’ services to our community,” Ms. Marra said in a prepared statement.

Mrs. McCoy said the Victims Assistance Center board of directors will start the director search at the local level, as “we think there are people in our community who may be interested in the position.” The board also will reach out to national domestic violence networks, she said.

“Certainly we’ll be looking for administrative, financial and grant-writing skills,” Mrs. McCoy said. “To me, I feel in any organization you want a leader who’s passionate about the mission of the organization.”

According to its website, the agency’s mission is “to assist and provide direct services to victims/survivors of violence and crime in Jefferson County.” According to the agency’s most recent statistics, from 2012, direct services were provided to 2,782 victims of various crimes.

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