March-April 2018 | MEET ABBY MARSH

Life Crisis Center Executive Director Abby Marsh



The new executive director of Life Crisis Center talks the organization's mission

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: JOEY GARDNER

Abby Marsh has successfully prosecuted hundreds of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault cases during her career as a prosecutor. In her new role as executive director of the Life Crisis Center in Salisbury, she feels compelled do even more for local victims of these heinous crimes.

“As a prosecutor, I was committed to serving the community by making it a safer place,” Abby said. “My position at the Life Crisis Center allows me to take it a step further, by coming in at a grassroots level and empowering victims to become survivors, so that they no longer have to live in abusive situations. I firmly believe that by providing critical resources to victims, the need for law enforcement and/or court interaction is reduced.”  

The Life Crisis Center’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the community through crisis intervention and violence prevention. The licensed, professional staff uses a national best- practice treatment model to serve Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset Counties and advocate for and provide a wide range of services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Through prevention, intervention, therapy, legal services, advocacy and collaboration, LCC works to provide a safe place for healing. Some of the comprehensive support services offered include a shelter in its 19-bed safe home, intensive case management, supervised visitation, victim support, abuser groups and outreach.

Unfortunately, according to national statistics, the need for the Life Crisis Center is paramount. For example, did you know that one in four girls and one in four boys under the age of 18 are sexually assaulted? Or that nearly 70 percent of sex offenders have between one and nine victims? Were you aware that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States — more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined?

Abby said it’s vital to trust the word of a victim who shares any instance of abuse. 

“Sadly, child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault are far too prevalent in all communities,” Abby said. “We only hear of a limited number because these are the type of crimes that most frequently happen behind closed doors. There is more than one Larry Nasser or one Dr. Earl Bradley among us. False reports are extremely rare and generally cannot be sustained. If the first person told about the abuse believes the victim, then regardless of what happens next, that victim is set on the road to becoming a survivor.”

April is Child Abuse Awareness month, and the LCC’s Pinwheels campaign will host a series of events focused on breaking the silence that surrounds this epidemic, including the planting of a pinwheel garden at the Salisbury Moose Lodge (March 25) and the running of the Pinwheels 5K, in conjunction with the Salisbury Marathon on April 28. LCC will also host a marathon afterparty for kids. Proceeds from these events, and others during the month, will directly benefit local initiatives of the Life Crisis Center.

“Rarely a day goes by that I don’t hear the words, ‘I couldn’t have done this without the help of the Life Crisis Center,’”Abby said, “and that is more than satisfying—it makes it all worthwhile.”

Abby is a passionate fan of the University of Virginia Cavaliers’ basketball team and its head coach, Tony Bennett, whom she says looks exactly like her husband, Steve.

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