BOSTON – During Victim Rights Month in April, Attorney General Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) recognize individuals and agencies that have made notable contributions to victim rights and services in the state.
Lysetta Hurge-Putnam received this year’s “Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award” for providing comprehensive services, supports, and community collaborations that have helped victims of domestic and sexual violence over the past 25 years.
Since 1999, Ms. Hurge-Putnam has been the Executive Director of Independence House, a non-profit organization providing domestic and sexual violence services throughout Cape Cod.
Since assuming the role, Independence House has become a relied upon resource for survivors, providers, the courts, schools, and communities in serving victims and addressing issues of domestic and sexual violence.
In addition to providing direct services, Ms. Hurge-Putnam oversees trainings and public outreach activities that educate communities on the impacts of violence – most recently focusing on engaging teens around dating violence, sexual assault, bullying, and witnessing violence.
Ms. Hurge-Putnam also presents to state officials, judges, and others on the importance of victim confidentiality and the intersections of oppression and violence. She has served on the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence and currently serves as President-Elect on the Jane Doe, Inc. Board of Directors.
“Lysetta has done incredible work providing critical services and compassionate care to victims of abuse. We are proud to recognize her and all our recipients during Victim Rights Month for their tremendous commitment to helping some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said Attorney General Maura Healey.
Prior to joining Independence House, Ms. Hurge-Putnam worked with domestic and sexual violence victims in upstate New York and helped establish the first Child Advocacy Center in Buffalo to better serve child victims of violence. Her lifesaving efforts and dedication to the field have also been recognized by the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission and the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
This award is named after the late Gerard D. Downing, former Berkshire County District Attorney and lifelong Pittsfield resident. Downing was a champion of victim rights throughout his career and was a long-time member of MOVA’s governing Board.
"The core of my Dad's service was the belief that every victim deserved to be treated with dignity, honesty and respect and that every crime should be prosecuted with a single goal in mind - the truth," said Senator Benjamin Downing (D - Pittsfield). "Those guiding principles are what we honor today and Lysetta is a clear example of them."
“Lysetta is a true champion in the victim rights field given her years of dedicated service in serving victims and educating the public on the impacts of violence,” said Liam Lowney, MOVA’s Executive Director. “Her leadership at Independence House ensures essential services that empower survivors throughout Cape Cod.”
For further information on the services, trainings, and supports provided by Independence House, please visit www.IndependenceHouse.org or call (508) 771-6507. To learn more about Victim Rights Month award recipients, please visit MOVA’s website www.mass.gov/mova or call 617-586-1340.