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A Story of Resilience: From Victim to Advocate

Joseph Fazzary, District Attorney of Schuyler County

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For many years, District Attorney Joseph Fazzary looked into the eyes of child sexual assault victims and soothingly told them it was okay to tell the jury what happened. While doing this, his own mind wandered to a very deep and dark place, his childhood. It would take him over twenty years to finally tell his own story. Once he did, he knew there was more he had to do to help victims. His own trauma helped to focus his mind. He began speaking to victim advocates throughout the state. Most importantly, he began preparing for his biggest challenge, the creation of the Justice Center of the Southern Tier.


DA Fazzary’s presentation will address the critical need for advocates and law enforcement to coordinate efforts to construct healing-centered programs and venues for survivors while recognizing the long-term effects sexual assault will have on those survivors. Even when a survivor says they are okay, they may not be. Advocacy for survivors is a marathon, not a sprint.

As a result of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Develop new models of treatment for survivors.

  • Collaborate with law enforcement to find innovative ways to provide services for survivors.

  • Understand the need for self-decompression from vicarious trauma after providing care to survivors.

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