Shannon Ozzella has dedicated two decades of her life and career to helping people who are among society’s most vulnerable: those who have been victimized by crime. As the Crime Victims Coordinator for the Allegany County District Attorney’s office, Ms. Ozzella has been widely recognized for the expertise, compassion and extraordinary commitment that she brings to her work, guiding and aiding victims through the criminal justice process. Over the course of her career, she has touched the lives of thousands of men, women and children in their fight for justice and healing.
Following several years working with crime victims at Cattaraugus Community Action, Ms. Ozzella joined the District Attorney’s office in 2000. In her role, she stands by crime victims during every step of their difficult journey through the criminal justice process. Her responsibilities include explaining and preparing victims to testify at trial, writing orders of protection, assisting with preparing victim impact statements, connecting victims with crisis and counseling services and notifying victims when perpetrators are released from prison.
Recognizing the special needs of child victims, Ms. Ozzella played an important role in the creation of the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center, which opened in 2007. The facility provides a safe, coordinated and multi-disciplinary approach to helping child victims of sexual and physical abuse.
With a commitment to remaining at the forefront of her field, Ms. Ozzella has received advanced training in advocacy for child victims and victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She has also received training in applied suicide intervention and skills. Recognition for Ms. Ozzella’s dedication and achievements has come from all corners. She has received citations from Congressman Tom Reed, Senator Cathy Young, Assemblyman Joseph Giglio and the Cattaraugus County Legislature. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Victim Services Award from Cattaraugus Community Action (2000) and the Community Kindness Award from the Allegany County Mental Health Association (2013).
In describing her work, Ms. Ozzella has said that while it is very difficult, the rewards come when she hears from people she has helped. She recalled one young man who “reached out to me to tell me how much his life had changed because of me. Those are the days I love and I realize why I do this. Those are the days that keep me going.”