Parents For Megan's Law and The Crime Victims Center
LAURA AHEARN'S BIOGRAPHY
Laura A. Ahearn, a New York State Licensed Social Worker, and a Juris Doctor Graduate at Touro Law Center, is a powerful voice for sexually victimized children and an expert on childhood sexual abuse and rape prevention, crime victims’ rights and the management of sex offender registration and notification laws on a community level.
Ms. Ahearn has received many awards including the New York State Senate Woman of Distinction Award, the New York State Outstanding Victims Advocate Award, the Leadership in Establishing and Maintaining Social Justice Award, Woman of the Year awards, Leadership in Community Education Award, Newsday Everyday Hero, multiple legislative and citation recognition awards and has been recognized by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Victims of Crime and the U.S. Congress for her many accomplishments in strengthening local, state and federal policies and laws to protect our most vulnerable and to give victims a voice. Ms. Ahearn works collaboratively with local, state and federal lawmakers and law enforcement, prosecutors, the community and the media to enhance their response to, and their understanding of victimization and the crucial role of the victim advocate.
As a W. Burghardt Turner Fellow, Ms. Ahearn received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University at Stony Brook, School of Social Welfare. She is the founder and executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victim’s Center, a not-for-profit national community and victim's rights and services organization. The organization is a New York State Certified Rape Crisis Center, staffs the Suffolk County Crime Victims Center and the National Megan’s Law Helpline. In addition, the organization provides support services to law enforcement across the nation in their efforts to maintain an up-to-date and accurate sex offender registry.
Locally, Ms. Ahearn developed the Suffolk County 8 Point Sex Offender Management Plan which has resulted in a significant reduction in recidivism for Suffolk County registered sex offenders. The plan is the most comprehensive in the nation, and includes in-person sex offender address verifications; a community sex offender registration tips program, sex offender email alert program, child sexual abuse and adult rape prevention education, and crime victim services. After only two years of implementation there has been an 85% reduction in contact sex crimes committed by Suffolk County registered sex offenders against Suffolk County residents.
Recognizing a need for timely proactive violent crime victim follow-up services, Ms. Ahearn expanded the mission of the organization to provide services to all victims of violent crime and established the Crime Victim Center (CVC). The CVC educates violent crime victims about their rights and provides valuable support services to survivors of homicide, victims of; sexual assault, domestic violence, assault, hate crimes, child abuse, robbery, stalking, DWI, arson, kidnapping, human trafficking and terrorism to crime victim compensation and multi-agency service referrals.
Ms. Ahearn has assisted in the drafting of local, state and federal legislation aimed at strengthening laws to protect our most vulnerable and broaden victim’s rights. Ms. Ahearn has been instrumental in coordinating leading edge training for law enforcement on topics including sex offender management, hate crimes, investigative technology and the role of the crime victim advocate.
She is heavily relied upon to provide accurate, factual and pertinent information to educate the community, government officials and the media. She is the author of Megan's Law Nationwide, has had numerous op-eds published, has been quoted in numerous print stories across the world and has provided factual information on numerous television shows including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, ESPN, The John Walsh Show, MSNBC, BBC, FOX, Geraldo and many other local broadcasts to educate the public about sex offender registration and notification, child sexual abuse and rape prevention and crime victims’ rights.