James Gierke is a native of Southern Arizona. He began his career in Social Work in Tucson, Arizona in 1999. In 2002, he joined the Pima County Attorney’s Office, Victim Witness Program. He worked primarily as a crisis advocate, responding to crime scenes with law enforcement to provide crisis intervention to victims and witnesses of offenses including Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Aggravated Assault, and Homicide. He became associated with The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) Crisis Response Team, and was called upon to provide crisis services at large scale and mass casualty national disasters.
In 2007, he was appointed to a position at Arizona Department of Corrections, where he coordinated Employee Assistance Programs. He developed and implemented innovative procedures focused on transitioning returning military veterans to work. He assisted with developing employee based peer support, and managed the Arizona Department of Correction’s Critical Incident Response Teams. In that same year, James served on NOVA’s National Task Force on Identity Theft, a task force to examine the effects of victimization of identity theft and services which may be afforded those crime victims. He drafted the first Identity Theft Victim Assistance Curriculum. In the intervening years, he created and implemented AWARE, a cyber-safety and victim assistance training program that focuses on technology related victimization.
In 2010, James returned to the Pima County Attorney’s Office to focus on Prosecution based court advocacy. He led the Specialty Prosecution Domestic Violence Court team, and coordinated community resources to enhance responses to victims of Domestic Violence. On January 8, 2011, James was called upon to assist after a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, where 6 people were murdered. 18 people, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords were shot. In the wake of that tragedy, James assisted in coordinating Victim Services responses with local and federal agencies.
In November of 2011, James became Director of Victim Services for NOVA. In addition to his focus on National level victim assistance programs, he maintained service to his local community. He worked with Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse in Tucson, Arizona to create a community based Victim Advocacy Program as part of a Municipal Domestic Violence Court. He also worked with local agencies to provide direct services to men who were court ordered to Domestic Violence intervention.
A nationally recognized expert on victim assistance, James has provided training and technical assistance to staff of more than 1,000 victim services and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. He frequently presents on topics ranging from cyber-crimes and identity theft to sexual assault, domestic abuse, and homicide victimization responses.
James joined Homicide Survivors, Inc. in October of 2017 as Executive Director. He is honored to work with an organization dedicated to advocacy, support, and assistance to family and friends who have lost a loved one to murder.