|Aurelia Sands Belle has more than twenty years of professional experience in human service delivery and advocacy. She has extensive experience in the management of non-profit organizations and programmatic implementation strategies. Most notably, Aurelia is the former director of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) for the Metropolitan Atlanta Crime Commission in conjunction with the City of Atlanta. She was employed as the director in 1984 when the program began. To her credit, Mrs. Belle initiated responsibility for developing all services to victims and witnesses of crime during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. This effort involved organizing a staff and some 200 volunteers, obtaining financial and technical support resources and working with local and national law enforcement agencies in training officers to work with crime victims. A special emphasis was placed on working with victims from other countries. She held that position until February 1997 when her family relocated to Fayetteville, North Carolina. |
Most recently, Aurelia became a founding Director in Justice Solutions, Inc. of Washington, DC. Justice Solutions is a non-profit agency committed to addressing issues related to criminal and social justice issues by working with professionals all across the country, providing technical assistance and intervention. She conducts workshops that address the needs, rights and concerns of victims of crime. She works with various victim advocacy agencies, law enforcement departments, clergy members and community groups to promote a better understanding of crime victims’ issues. She is a training consultant for the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime and the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA). She is also a private consultant with the U. S. Department of Labor working as a coach for their Youth Grant Opportunities programs in Louisville, Kentucky and Birmingham, Alabama. She has served as a faculty member for the National Victim Academy since 1997 sponsored by the U. S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime in cooperation with the Victims’ Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR). Aurelia’s work as a facilitator has taken her into cities all across the country such as New Orleans, Louisiana; Orlando, Florida; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; Waterloo, Iowa; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
Aurelia also presents workshops that promote team building, establishing community collaborations, working with non-profit boards and organizations, as well as self-empowerment issues for women.
More recently, Aurelia served as Interim Executive Director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault that offered support and guidance to a number of projects impacting more than 67 rape crisis centers across the state. Prior to that time, she served as the Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County in Fayetteville, North Carolina. While there she fostered an atmosphere that encouraged community outreach, increased minority participation, and expounded the concept of building greater community collaboratives. While in Fayetteville she worked as a Counselor/Instructor in the Center for Continuing Education at Fayetteville State University in a joint project with the Employment Security Commission.
She is a member of the Advisory Board for the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center, through the Medical University of South Carolina, in conjunction with the University of Missouri at St. Louis, Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA.
As a career advocate, Mrs. Belle was the first crime victim advocate appointed to serve on the Governor’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in Georgia, by then Governor Joe Frank Harris, to represent the issues confronting victims of crime. Later, Governor Zell Miller appointed her to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. She was a founding member of Georgians for Victim Justice (GVJ), a statewide advocacy organization composed of victim advocates and citizens interested in addressing crime victims’ issues. She also served as President of GVJ.
A noted crisis intervention trainer, Aurelia has served on several national and local crisis response teams that responded to: a bus crash killing five coeds; the World Trade Center crash; a prison riot; a tornado; bank robberies; and death due to an industrial accident. Aurelia has worked with a number of national, state and local agencies to conduct workshops and seminars such as:
Recently, Aurelia was commissioned by the North Carolina Coalition of Sexual Assault (NCCASA) to write the manual Preparing Law Enforcement to Assist Victims of Sexual Assault (2000). It is designed to provide police officers information from the vantage-point of the victim. She has also been commissioned to write a sexual assault manual for staff and volunteers. As you will see from my professional history statement, I have varied experience, offering workshops on a number of sexual assault topics. She co-authored the “Respecting Diversity” chapter of the National Victim Assistance Academy curriculum. Recently, she was a participant in the video Fostering Collaborative Research: Viewpoints from Violence Against Women Practitioners and Researchers developed by the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center.
- Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, Community Response of Sexual Assault
- Responding to Victims of Crime
- “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” Teambuilding for Staff and Managers
- Empowering Youth to Develop Healthy Relationships
- Conducting Homicide Survivor Support Groups
- Foundations for Building a Strong Board of Directors
- Responding to Hate & Bias Crimes; Cultural Diversity & Sensitivity Classes
- Leadership Issues for African-American Women
- The Faith Community’s Response to Domestic Violence
Mrs. Belle is the recipient of many awards and honors. Listed are a few of her more notable awards:
The Margery Fry Award in 1991 presented by the National Organization for Victim Assistance for outstanding work as a practitioner in the field of victim services
In April 1992 the Presidential Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to Crime Victims by President George Bush and Attorney General William Barr at the White House in a Rose Garden Ceremony.
In 1995, the staff of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program made an unprecedented gesture of respect by establishing an award in her honor, the Aurelia Sands Belle Victim Service Award.
Aurelia’s professional affiliations include Justice Solutions, Inc., National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center Advisory Board; National Constitutional Amendment Network; National Organization for Victim Assistance Crisis Response Team and Crisis Care Network. She is also a faculty member for Florida’s Office of the Attorney General.
Mrs. Belle earned a Masters Degree in Community Counseling from Georgia State University and a BA in Urban Studies from Oglethorpe University. She currently resides in Fremont, Nebraska.