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Director's Biography

Photo of John W. Gillis, OVC Director John W. Gillis
OVC Director

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On Friday, September 14, 2001, John W. Gillis was confirmed as the new Director of the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime. Mr. Gillis has a long and distinguished career in victim advocacy and law enforcement.

Following the 1979 murder of his daughter Louarna, Mr. Gillis helped found Justice for Homicide Victims and the Coalition of Victims Equal Rights, a statewide organization that works on behalf of the rights of victims and their families. He is also the founder of Victims & Friends United and an active member of Memory of Victims Everywhere and Parents of Murdered Children, a support group for families of homicide victims.

In 1991, President George Bush presented Mr. Gillis with the National Crime Victim Service Award for his work in helping crime victims. In 1993, former Attorney General William Barr recognized Mr. Gillis' crime victim service with a Special Commendation Award. Mr. Gillis is also a member of the American Police Hall of Fame.

From 1962 to his retirement in 1988, Mr. Gillis served with the Los Angeles Police Department, retiring with the rank of lieutenant, Assistant Commanding Officer. He also served as a Commissioner of the California Board of Prison Terms, acting as Chairman from 1991 to 1993.

Mr. Gillis served four years as a member of the California State Bar Associationís Crime Victims and Corrections Committee and four years on the American Legislative Exchange Council's Victim Committee. His efforts also helped secure passage of California's Crime Victims Initiative. He has acted as a technical advisor in the area of training videos for law enforcement, and is an active participant and advisor in the production of two training videos for law enforcement and crime victims. The videos are widely used throughout the United States and several foreign countries.

Mr. Gillis received an undergraduate degree from California State University at Los Angeles and a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

Speeches by the OVC Director


Director Attends Committee on Crime Victim Services
"NSA Establishes Standing Committee on Crime Victim Services," National Sheriff Association's article on the first Crime Victim Services Committee. The Article first appeared in SHERIFF magazine, May-June 2004.

Open Letter to the Field
OVC Director, John W. Gillis, remembers President Reagan's Vision and Leadership, June 2004.

Interview with the Director
" A Voice for Victims," MADD's interview with OVC Director Gillis in Driven magazine, Fall 2003.


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This document was last updated on July 21, 2004