Board of Directors
The Board of Directors supports the work of the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance. Day-to-day operations are led by the Executive Director, who reports to the Board.
Day-to-day operations are led by the Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors. Our Executive Director also serves as program coordinator for VOCA (federal Victim of Crime Act) funded activities and as a victim advocate. Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources and filling out paperwork.
Patricia A Caristo – Executive Director
Bringing years of experience in police and private investigation, teaching investigation courses, developing an investigator-apprentice training program working on cold case investigations at no charge to families, and volunteering many hours to victim advocacy agencies (NM Survivors of Homicide, Rape Crisis Center), it became possible to join with Victim Advocate Joan Shirley, and professional advisor Gabino Venegas to transform NIA/NM into the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death. Using the proceeds from the paid services of NIA/NM, grants, and donations and with the help of a volunteer Board of Directors, Pat was designated Executive Director and serves in that role to this date.
The Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death evolved from the pro-bono division of NIA/NM, a New Mexico investigations agency providing no-fee investigations to families of unsolved homicides. NIA also served as a resource to and volunteered with New Mexico Survivors of Homicide (NMSOH) from 1998 to 2008.
Changes at NMSOH and the Office of the Medical Examiner (OMI) led to a lack of non-governmental services for victims of homicide in NM. However, NIA continued to provide free services to at least forty families of unsolved murders. In 2011, Pat Caristo, of NIA and Joan Shirley, formerly the victim advocate for NMSOH, met to develop NIA into a full-resource center for victims in order to bridge the gaps in services. In 2012 we were awarded 501(c)(3) status and in May 2012 we received a grant from the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (NMCVRC). We began offering direct victim services in July 2012.