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Jan 14

Advocating for Victims

Posted on January 14, 2021 at 1:32 PM by Shelby Abner


Morgan Culley is the only victim's advocate assigned to a police department in Hendricks County, and she works right here in Brownsburg.

Morgan serves as a liaison between crime victims (or as she prefers to call them, “crime survivors”) and the detectives investigating their cases. She offers resources ranging from how to access therapy through insurance or how to get a protective order to spending hours at a hospital with a sexual assault victim. And she does it all with an empathetic ear.

“Each person reacts differently to trauma,” said Morgan. “Each person and each situation is unique. You treat trauma on a case-by-case basis.” Sometimes that means talking to a survivor every day, allowing him or her to share thoughts and feelings as well as information that may be critical to solving the crime. “I update the detectives if something that affects the case is shared,” she added.

Once the case has been filed with the Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office, Morgan transitions the survivors to the victims advocate there.

Morgan joined the Brownsburg Police Department in May 2019 and is the first civilian employee to hold the position. Previously, detectives provided as much help as they could to survivors. But juggling the investigation of a case with the intensive help needed by victims was difficult. To solve the problem, Capt. Jennifer Barrett proposed converting a funded administrative assistant position into the Victim Advocate/Investigations Assistant role. Chief Joe Grimes embraced the idea.

“Morgan’s job has been instrumental in many of our cases to helping to resolve those cases,” said Capt. Barrett. “We’ve been able to take a traditional position and reshape it into something new as we continue to grow and develop.”

Along with working with those touched by crime, Morgan also assists detectives with filing documentation and paperwork.

It’s not surprising Morgan would end up working for a police department. She earned her degree in criminal justice and criminology at Indiana State University. She worked for three years as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to assist children experiencing abuse and neglect. “That helped me learn to let people talk it out. I am not a counselor. I refer people to counselors but I always listen,” said Morgan.

Prior to coming to Brownsburg, Morgan worked for Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

Once on board, she participated in victims advocate courses offered through the state.

What’s the best part of the job? “It’s always something different. Each day definitely has a different aspect to it,” she said. “I’m always learning something new. I’m constantly learning about resources in the community. There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure.”

Dealing with trauma on a daily basis isn’t easy, but Morgan has a large support system. “My coworkers deal with the same things and I can talk to them,” she said. “I have great support system at home and at work. Sometimes I manage the stress by doing the same things I’ll tell victims, I do a check-in with myself. I’ll check my sleeping and eating habits.”

While her work hours are 8 am to 4 pm Mondays through Fridays, Morgan can be called to work any time of day or night. And she’s okay with that. “I am a resource for the town.”

To contact Morgan, call (317) 852-1109 x2123.