Local advocate honored
Friday, April 11, 2014 4:40 PM
When a victim of a crime needs a hand to hold, or someone to lean on when the time comes to face their abuser, she is there.
Here name is Teresa Barraza and she is the Crime Victims Coordinator for Terry County.
And while it may be her job to assist those who have been a victim in a crime, it is also her passion.
“I want to hold their hands and dry their tears,” said Barraza. “I want to be the support for people who may not have it.”
Her passion and service to the local community made Barraza an obvious choice to be honored by the Lubbock Crime Victim Coalition Community as a person who has given outstanding service on behalf of crime victims in her community.
Barraza along with several other individuals were honored recently for their work as advocates for those who have been a victim in a crime. They include everybody in a chain of support workers, each link doing their part to assist victims of crime and or abuse.
The ceremony was held 2 p.m. Thursday in the Fellowship Hall of the LakeRidge United Methodist Church in Lubbock.
The event, which is cosponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving ( MADD), was purposely held to coincide with Crime Victim Rights Week, which was scheduled for last week. The event is set to not only honor those who are involved in the process of assisting crime victims, but also set to raise awareness as well.
Other event sponsors included Lubbock Victim Assistance Services, Women’s Protective Services, Voice of Hope Lubbock Rape Crisis Center as well as the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Barraza began her career in the criminal justice sector as a human resources representative for the Management and Training Corporation. She worked there for 11 years and then went to work in her current position when Terry County Attorney Jo’Shae Ferguson-Worley took office.
Ferguson-Worley nominated Barraza for the award.
“Through laughter and tears, Victim Assistance Coordinator, Teresa Barraza, has shown an unconditional dedication, love and understanding while working with the unheard cries of victims,” Ferguson-Worley wrote for Barraza’s nomination. “With relentless strength, courage and perseverance, Teresa has encountered some of the most difficult situations and strived for justice.”
Barraza said that while her job is rewarding, it can also be difficult as some victims aren’t aware of what support services she can provide. She said local law enforcement does an excellent job of providing information, but when victims are in the middle of a tragic event, they sometimes aren’t focusing on what can be provided to them.
As she continues in her current position, Barraza said she would also like to work toward seeing a victim’s shelter being established locally to keep victims closer to home and close to their centers of support.
“It would really be great for us as a community to have a shelter for domestic violence victims,” she said.