McGrath Honors Two Crime Victim Advocates
HELENA – Attorney General Mike McGrath Wednesday honored outstanding crime victims’ advocate Marilynn Forman of Miles City in a ceremony at the Custer County Courthouse. Mikie Baker-Hajek of Great Falls received the same victims’ advocate award last month.
“The work of victims’ advocates is something few are cut out to do,” McGrath said. “It makes it all the more gratifying to honor Montanans like Marilynn and Mikie. Theirs is noble work.”
Forman has been the Crime Victim Assistant for the Custer County Attorney’s Office for six years. She was a paralegal in the office prior to the establishment of a formal victim-witness program and later helped create the job and the program.
Forman was instrumental in establishing a multi-agency Child Evaluation Center in Miles City. At the center, child victims of physical and sexual assault can be interviewed by trained staff in a neutral, friendly atmosphere. Since the center is a multi-agency facility, young victims may go through the interview process once, rather than repeatedly.
Nomination letters for Forman praised her “quiet compassion.” Social worker Grant Larsen said she “rises way above the standard in her commitment to victims, other agencies and the community.”
Baker-Hajek has worked in victim-witness advocacy since 1993, first as a volunteer, then in her current role as executive director of Victim-Witness Assistance Service in Great Falls. Former sheriff John Strandell praised Baker-Hajek’s “commitment and dedication” and credits her with extending victim-witness services to the sheriff’s office in 1998.
Baker-Hajek is the chair of the Department of Corrections Victim Advocacy Board. She created the domestic violence handbook used by a number of Cascade County agencies and she put together Coordinated Community Response packets used by local law enforcement for domestic violence cases.
Colleagues called Baker-Hajek “dynamic” and “a catalyst.”
Nominees were evaluated based on their specific efforts on behalf of crime victims; length of service in the field; their role in relation to a victim service program and outstanding efforts on behalf of victims.