Nancy Smith

Center Director at Vera Institute of Justice

Nancy Smith serves as a convener for the National Resource Center for Reaching Victims (NRC), a project of the Vera Institute of Justice, and is responsible for bringing together the NRC’s nine partners to form a collaborative that is working together to help community-based advocacy programs, system-based responses, and policymakers to better identify, reach, and serve survivors from underserved communities. She fosters collaboration among partner organizations; provides strategic direction and guidance to the complex change initiatives undertaken by the NRC and its partners, makes connections between partners and key stakeholders in the crime victims and related fields; and serves as a liaison to project funders. Nancy’s work on the NRC builds on her more than 15 years of experience as the Director of the Center on Victimization and Safety at the Vera Institute of Justice. In this role, she designs and oversees change initiatives that center the needs of survivors of crime, especially those most marginalized from healing services and system-based responses. A main focus of her work has been on ending violence against people with disabilities and partnering with Deaf communities across the country as a hearing ally to end violence against Deaf people. She has worked closely with advocates, first-responders, and policymakers around the country to improve services for survivors with disabilities and Deaf survivors; is a national speaker and trainer on a wide-range of issues related to disability, Deaf culture, and victimization; facilitates national roundtables on topics ranging from preventing sexual abuse of children with disabilities to enhancing law enforcement responses to Deaf victims; and has written numerous reports on the topic, including Forging New Collaborations: A Guide for Rape Crisis, Domestic Violence, and Disability Organizations, Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities: A National Snapshot, and Culture, Language, and Access: Key Considerations for Serving Deaf Survivors. Nancy has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and women’s studies and a master’s degree in women’s studies with a concentration in feminist policy studies from the Ohio State University.