Victim advocate receives national award


XENIA — Victim advocate Riki L. Karolyi recently accepted the 2018 Margery Fry Outstanding Victim Service Practitioner award from the National Organization for Victim Assistance at the group’s 44th annual conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

Karolyi said she’s inspired every day to be a voice for others.

“My inspiration comes from winning the trust of a hurting heart, hug of a child, appreciation of the biggest critic, and the respect of intelligent people while helping them navigate a scary and imperfect system,” she said when she was selected to receive the award. “My hope is to leave the world a bit better, a child safer, survivor stronger, and my co-workers in this tough work — grinning. My reward is knowing someone breathed easier during a tough time because I was there.”

Karolyi has been serving crime victims since 1995 when she began as a volunteer in the Lake County, Ohio Prosecutor’s Office. She worked full time with crime victims in Lake and Geauga counties until 2000. While working in these rural communities Riki helped develop a cook book to be distributed to the Amish women in the area. Amongst the recipes, the book integrated information about domestic violence and available resources for abuse victims. From 2000-2003, she was employed by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office in Dayton as a victim advocate serving a large urban population. In 2003, Karolyi was hired as a victim advocate with the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office where she presently works assisting felony crime victims, finding creative solutions to address a variety of client needs.

In nominating her colleague, victim advocate Amanda Opicka wrote, “Riki develops relationships with crime victims in a way that she can provide them services not just related to their victimization, but also other areas of need in their lives. Victims often come back to Riki for help years after a case has concluded, and she exceeds expectations in assisting them.”

Utilizing her many experiences, Karolyi develops lasting relationships with many of the crime victims she serves. For years, Karolyi remained in close contact with a woman and her son following the murder of the husband/father. Karolyi worked with community partners to assist the woman gain employment, as well as suitable housing and furnishings for the family. The young boy grew into a young man, and expressed a desire to become a police officer. Karolyi worked to locate scholarship assistance, allowing him to enter the police academy. At his graduation party, the young man expressed gratitude, thanking “his Riki” for helping him from the moment his father was murdered to this very proud moment in his life.

Karolyi has also served on the boards for the Ohio Victim Witness Association and the Ohio Advocate Network.

“Honored as an outstanding victim advocate, she remains committed in her work for crime victims’ rights. A long career in service to victims and a dedication to a job well done has earned Karolyi national recognition with the announcement of the Margery Fry Award,” Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller said in a release.