Melissa Pennachi is the Victim Services Coordinator at Newark Police Department. In her role she provides trauma informed crisis intervention and follow-up for victims. She advocates for victims within the system and helps victims and families link to the right resources as they move forward from the crime or traumatic incident.
She began her career in the Victim/Witness Assistance Program at the Delaware Attorney General’s Office where she worked for over ten years, and then worked with the Victim Services Unit at Delaware State Police briefly before going to Newark Police.
Melissa has served as Chair of the Delaware Victims’ Rights Task Force for six years, ending her tenure at the end of 2022. She participates on various committees and brings her experience and knowledge doing direct service to the table to help inform conversations relating to victims’ rights and services . She is a Council Member of the Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council and a faculty member for the Delaware Victim Assistance Academy.
Melissa brings a passion for continuing to improve services for victims and working to overcome gaps in the system. Melissa, along with other advocates, worked with Representative Krista Griffith to advocate for and work on legislation for a Sexual Violence Protective Order in Delaware. That legislation was signed by Governor Carney in October 2022. Melissa realizes that the criminal justice system is difficult and often traumatizing for victims to navigate, and is proud to have helped victims through the system for over nineteen years, hoping to lessen the burden and trauma of victims when they decide to report to the police.
Her nominator said: “[S]he has worked tirelessly for policy changes, presented training opportunities for professionals, and coordinated with multiple partners to ensure that victims and survivors in Delaware receive the best services available. She is well recognized by other victim advocates as well as allied professionals like prosecutors and officers as a trustworthy, compassionate, and motivated person. She is someone you can call on in a crisis who can maintain composure and professionalism and balance that with a warm and caring demeanor. Her passion for working with the most vulnerable populations is evident in her work toward equitable services and safety for the people she works with. As an advocate, she works every day to ensure that victims are treated fairly, regardless of their circumstances.”
The DVCC presented Melissa with this award during the Governor’s Proclamation signing for Domestic Violence Awareness Month on October 12, 2022.