Longtime advocate wins award for supporting domestic violence victims
- on October 24, 2011
Dolores Moseley has had times — during her 26-year career with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office — when she has woken up at 2 a.m. thinking about victims in a case.
“You try not to do that, and once a case is over, you have to detach yourself again,” said Moseley, who helps victims and witnesses through district court proceedings. “It takes a little piece out of you on some of the high-profile cases because you do get to know those people very well.”
The Willow Domestic Violence Center recently awarded Moseley with a certificate of appreciation for her work with domestic violence victims. Moseley received the award during the Take Back the Night event in South Park.
“The entire staff appreciates the hard work and dedication she provides domestic violence survivors as they navigate through the criminal justice system,” said Peggy Tillman-Young, a Willow court advocate who nominated Moseley. “Numerous survivors have voiced their gratitude for her guidance and support.”
Moseley can often be seen making sure victims and witnesses know where to go if they have to testify. She also often sits in the audience for support, as well, during trials and sentencing hearings.
And she often has many phone calls — they have a 24-hour rule on calling people back — to return throughout a day. Moseley and fellow victim-witness coordinator Cindy Riling are typically in the office past 5 p.m. during the week catching up on calls.
“Dolores has been a stalwart and champion in our office for victims,” District Attorney Charles Branson said. “For over 25 years, she’s dealt with every type of case imaginable, and she is still able to do so with incredible compassion and caring. She has baby-sat children so parents can testify, wiped tears and called victims in the middle of the night to inform them of a defendant making bond. She has made the job of tending to the needs of victims her life.”
Moseley has been helping victims and witnesses for 20 years, since former District Attorney Jerry Wells put her in the position to give victims and witnesses a better way of communicating with someone about what’s happening in their cases.
With domestic violence victims, Moseley says the cases are often complicated because the victim and defendant typically know each other well.
“You try to confirm their self-worth and that they don’t deserve to be treated like that,” she said. “A lot of those victims have very low self-esteem and are too afraid to make the break, so we try to find the support they need.”
Moseley said the Willow center and GaDuGi SafeCenter provide services to victims that make her job easier and that victims sometimes benefit from free therapy.
The cases are difficult, but she’s also seen victims who have inspired her. Moseley helped Francie Biggs, the victim in the Matt Jaeger case, through the two-week trial in 2009. A Douglas County jury convicted Jaeger of kidnapping and aggravated battery for injuring his ex-girlfriend in her vaginal area in 2007. Jaeger is appealing the conviction.
“It was such a lengthy process,” Moseley said of the case that took two years to get to the trial. Since the verdict, Biggs has often spoke out against domestic violence.
Moseley said a trial can be difficult for victims. After months or even years, they often have to speak about what was a traumatic event for them, and they often must answer many questions about it in court.
But she likes the work.
“It’s stressful. The rewards are few and far between, but when you have a reward it feels very good,” she said. “I feel like this position does help people.”