LAURA A. AHEARN, ESQ., LMSW BIOGRAPHY
Laura A. Ahearn is a New York State Licensed Attorney and SocialWorker. Ms. Ahearn has stood up for the rights of thousands of child and adult victims of sexualabuse and rape, domestic violence victims, hate crime victims, others who have been victims ofviolent crime, and elderly, minor and disabled victims of property crime. She has over two decadesof experience developing, implementing, and managing crime prevention programs including childsexual abuse and rape prevention programs, hate crime prevention programs, crime victims? rightsand advocacy programs, and programs aimed at ensuring up-to-date sex offender registries,comprehensive community education and notification programs.
As a W. Burghardt Turner Fellow, Ms. Ahearn received her Master?s Degree in Social Work fromthe SUNY Stony Brook and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Touro Law where she graduated at the top of herclass.
She is the founder and executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victim?sCenter, a not-for-profit national community and victim's rights organization. The organization is aNew York State Certified Rape Crisis Center, staffs the Suffolk County Crime Victims Center and theNational Megan?s Law Helpline. In addition, the organization provides support services to lawenforcement across the nation in their efforts to maintain an up-to-date and accurate sex offenderregistry.
In addition to her role as Executive Director, Ms. Ahearn holds leadership roles such as theChairwoman of the Suffolk County Family Violence Task Force Legal Systems Subcommittee and theVictims Services Representative of the Suffolk County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Shewas also the Victims Services Representative of the Suffolk County Hate Crimes Task Force.
Recognizing a need for timely proactive violent crime victim follow-up services, Ms. Ahearnexpanded the mission of the organization to provide services to all victims of violent crime andestablished the National Association of Counties award winning Crime Victim Center (CVC) Program.The CVC transformed the delivery of crime victim services. The program provides advocacy supportservices and educates violent crime victims and elderly minor and disabled victims of all crime,about their rights, entitlements for crime victim expense reimbursement, and links victims to amyriad of support services. The CVC serves the survivors of homicide, victims of; sexual assault,domestic violence, assault, hate crimes, child abuse, robbery, stalking, DWI, arson, kidnapping,human trafficking and other property and violent crime victims.
Ms. Ahearn has assisted in the drafting of and supported local, state and federallegislation aimed at strengthening laws to protect our most vulnerable and broaden victim?s rights.She is heavily relied upon to provide accurate, factual and pertinent information to educate thecommunity, government officials and the media. Ms. Ahearn has been instrumental in developing andcoordinating training for law enforcement on topics including crime victim services and sexoffender registration and notification.
Ms. Ahearn has received many awards including the New York State Senate Woman of DistinctionAward, the New York State Outstanding Victims Advocate Award, the Leadership in Establishing andMaintaining Social Justice Award, Woman of the Year awards, Leadership in Community EducationAward, Newsday Everyday Hero, multiple legislative and citation recognition awards and has beenrecognized by the U.S. Justice Department?s Office of Victims of Crime and the U.S. Congress forher many accomplishments in strengthening local, state and federal policies and laws to protect ourmost vulnerable and to give victims a voice. Ms. Ahearn works collaboratively with local, state andfederal policy and lawmakers, law enforcement, prosecutors, the community, and the media to enhancetheir response to, and their understanding of victimization and the crucial role of the victimadvocate.