Catawba County District Attorney’s Office Legal Assistant Belinda Gaither has been recognized as a Credentialed Advocate to assist victims of violent crimes.
Gaither, an Iredell County resident who has been with the DA’s Office for four years, earned the distinction from the National Advocate Credentialing Program after completing training at the state and national levels.
She completed 40 hours of training during a week-long session held in Raleigh in September 2019 through the Victim Service Practitioner Program and added an additional 20 hours of training at the national level through the National Organization for Victim Assistance. That training was originally set to take place in Orlando, Fla., but was done virtually in July 2020 because of issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the nation since March.
As a Credentialed Advocate, Gaither will continue to receive training at the national level and have the opportunity to give presentations at future training sessions related to assisting victims of crimes. Her certification goes hand in hand with her passion to assist in victims’ rights cases. That allows the DA’s Office to stay in compliance with Marsy’s Law. That piece of legislation, which took effect August 31, 2019, ensures that victims of crimes are notified and informed about the steps in the process of a criminal case.
“This recognition is quite an honor for Belinda and speaks highly of her dedication to assist victims of crimes,” District Attorney Scott Reilly said. “We are proud of her accomplishments and the things she does for our office.”
Gaither’s areas of specialization are domestic violence and sexual assault. She had an aunt who was killed in a domestic violence situation and has focused her attention on addressing such matters in the judicial system working as a legal assistant with Assistant District Attorney Jamie Adams on such cases.
“Those situations have always been close to my heart; it’s been a passion of mine,” Gaither explained. “I have a deeper appreciation for helping victims get through the situations they are in. Partnering with Jamie gives me an amazing opportunity to take on new challenges and learn something new every day.”
Adams and Gaither have worked together on domestic violence and sexual assault cases for two years as colleagues in the DA’s Office.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” Adams said of Gaither. “Her natural ability to connect with victims is astounding. This (certification) only enhances that. She’s always had the ability. Now she has specialized training that only makes her better. This is all in line with the best practices needed in addressing the needs of our victims.”
Gaither’s certification is good for two years, but she will have opportunities to receive additional training to renew that certificate and retain her license as a Credentialed Advocate.
CONTACT: Nathan Key