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June 22, 2011

Bullock Honors Outstanding Victim Advocate

BILLINGS – Attorney General Steve Bullock on Wednesday honored a Billings woman for devoting her career to giving victims of domestic violence and other crimes a voice in Montana’s criminal justice system.

Yellowstone County Victim/Witness advocate Martha Aquilar was honored at an afternoon ceremony at the Courthouse.

“It’s an honor to recognize someone who consistently shows respect and compassion for victims, and who comes to work day after day and gives her very best to a tough job, whether or not anyone ever notices the important work she does and the extra effort she gives,” Bullock said.

Martha Aquilar

Aquilar has worked as a county victim/witness advocate for over two decades, encouraging and supporting victims as they navigate the criminal justice system. She has trained and helped guide every victim/witness coordinator who has dealt with felony crimes in Yellowstone County.

“Martha was instrumental in the development of our crime victim’s program. To say she is a cornerstone of the program would be an understatement,” Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said. “She is our program.”

Twito also noted that, because of her empathy with and respect for those she serves, Aquilar is able to reach out to victims who are initially hesitant to cooperate with law enforcement officers and the prosecution.

Nomination letters praised Aquilar as “nothing short of amazing.” Co-workers recognized her as a great teacher and as a thoughtful, caring and compassionate advocate.