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New director named at First Witness

First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center in Duluth has named a new executive director. Beth Olson, who has long worked with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, was hired to replace Susan Mack. Olson, 40, has spent 17 years working i...

Beth Olson
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First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center in Duluth has named a new

executive director.

Beth Olson, who has long worked with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, was hired to replace Susan Mack.

Olson, 40, has spent 17 years working in human services, most recently as team leader for the Duluth Family Visitation Center, a program of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project.

Olson was chosen for her experience with helping victims of abuse and her work in the nonprofit field, said Joe Roby, chairman of the First Witness board of directors. She also is familiar with the organization because of her work interviewing its victims.

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"On a broader scale, she will improve our visibility in the community and improve relationships with other nonprofits in the same field," Roby said.

Olson worked for the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault in Duluth for nine years and is a national trainer on issues of post-separation violence for women and children leaving domestic abuse. She also is an adjunct instructor at the College of St. Scholastica and has organized many campaigns and events to bring awareness to issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, reproductive rights and GLBT equality. She earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Olson said Monday she was thrilled with her new position and hopes to reach as many families as possible who can use First Witness.

"Right now we're at an exciting point of being able to do more than First Witness has done in the past," she said. "That's going to benefit families at crisis times in their lives."

First Witness provides videotaped interviews of children who may be victims of sexual or physical abuse or severe neglect, which are used as evidence for prosecution. It also offers counseling and support to victims and their families. It was formed in 1993 by law enforcement, legal and social service professionals.

Related Topics: CRIME
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