Speakers and Education

Jessalyn Dorsey
CVAC Executive Director

Ms. Dorsey is the Executive Director for Crime Victims Advocacy Council, Inc. (CVAC).  She is responsible for the overall management and operation of CVAC.  She has been involved with CVAC, victims’ rights, and victims’ issues since 2001.  Jessalyn lost her only child to a violent murder in 1999 outside a neighborhood sweet-16 birthday party.  This was a traumatic event that she was unprepared for, but has thus reshaped her life.

Ms. Dorsey has gone from despair over the murder of her only child to a commitment of service for crime victims and survivors.  She is a Certified Victim Advocate and over the years has served in varied positions in the CVAC organization; Volunteer (2001-2004), Vice-President (2004), President (2005-2008), Advisory Board Member (2009-2012), and Support Groups Facilitator/Volunteer Coordinator (2013-present). She educates victims on their rights and helps them cope and heal from the grief after a homicide.

She is a frequent speaker at businesses, churches, and schools to educate the public about crime awareness, teen safety, victims’ rights, and compassionate responses to victimization.  As an advocate she has been featured in local and national print, television news programs, and spoken at several CVAC’s Annual Memorial Services.

Ms. Dorsey volunteers and supports several state and national organizations regarding crime victim rights and issues. She has testified before the Georgia Senate and House in favor of victims’ rights legislation for Audio Victim Impact Statements, GA Crime Victims Bill of Rights, and Restitution – legislation that has been signed into law by former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Ms. Dorsey has traveled to Washington, D.C. (Capitol Hill) to speak with Congressional Representatives about the importance of gun control and safety, crime prevention, and victims’ rights, as well as traveled across the nation, participating in advocacy training programs and conducting seminars on grief support groups and crime prevention.

Ms. Dorsey received the “2014 National Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award” in Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus. The Unsung Hero Award is presented to a crime victim or survivor, who has experienced a personal tragedy and found a way to triumph over adversity.

State/National Awards & Legislation for Victims:

  • National Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award, Washington D.C.: April 2014
  • GA Crime Victim Bill of Rights: May 2010
  • GA Victim Impact Law: April 2009
  • GA “Victims Voice Award”: April 2007
  • GA Criminal Justice Coordinating Council “Eagle Award for Volunteerism”: April 2007

Under her direction as Executive Director, CVAC:

  • lobbies for crime victim legislation
  • administers a scholarship program for victims and/or surviving family members
  • hosts an annual Memorial Service for crime victims across Georgia
  • provides crime victim education
  • hosts support groups for crime victims
  • works closely with Prosecutors’ Offices and Law Enforcement officials throughout the criminal justice system; and,
  • partners with Victim Advocates and Agencies to help provide an expansive support system for victims.

Ms. Dorsey’s impact on the community, justice system, and service delivery system has helped hundreds of teens and parents to be safe from child predatory attempts and to help hundreds of crime victims who are grieving over the loss of their loved one to murder or DUI, whether it is in a support group, memorial healing service, seminars, or speaking engagements.

Mel L. Hewitt, Jr. 
CVAC President

Mel Hewitt has been a member of the Georgia Bar since 1985. He concentrates his practice in representing seriously injured people and their families and family members in wrongful death cases, including victims of serious assaults, batteries, sexual abuse, child molestation, nursing home negligence, homicide, and drunk drivers.

Mr. Hewitt served four years of active duty in the United States Navy. After leaving the service, he spent the next six years in public law enforcement serving in the uniformed patrol division, the detective bureau and undercover narcotics investigations. Mr. Hewitt left public law enforcement and entered the corporate world where he spent the next seventeen years in the private security industry. He held positions in middle and upper management to include district, regional and operational management positions and was ultimately named president of Globe Security Systems, Inc., a publicly-held, private security firm. Mr. Hewitt left corporate America in 1989 to open a private law practice.

Mr. Hewitt is the president of the Crime Victims Advocacy Council (CVAC) which: lobbies for crime victim legislation; administers a scholarship program for victims and/or surviving family members; holds an annual memorial service for crime victims across Georgia; provides crime prevention education for children and the elderly; hosts support groups for crime victims; works closely with prosecutors’ offices and law enforcement officials throughout the criminal justice system; and, partners with other victim advocates and agencies to help provide an expansive support system for victims.

He is a frequent speaker at NOVA, NCVBA , and GTLA functions and a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum. In 2012, Mr. Hewitt was named in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers and has been featured in both local and national print, radio programs, and television news programs addressing issues of negligent security and civil justice for crime victims. He has published several articles relating to negligent security and crime victim issues in Trial Magazine, Calendar Call and The Connections.

Mel’s work in crime victim advocacy includes:
• President and Board Member of CVAC (2012- present).
• Helping administer scholarship program for victims.
• Helping direct annual crime victim memorial service.
• Speaking at crime victim and criminal justice programs.
• Representing crime victims in the civil justice system.

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