An Oral History of the Crime Victim Assistance Field
Video and Audio Archive

David Lloyd
Biography & Interview Summary

Picture from David Lloyd
Interviewee:David Lloyd;
Washington, DC
Date of Interview:January 13, 2003
Location:Washington, DC

David Lloyd

Director, Family Advocacy Program, U.S. Department of Defense


Initial Involvement in the Crime Victims' Movement

David Lloyd first entered the crime victims' field in 1975 as a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. He worked in the law clinic representing abused and neglected and delinquent minors. Lloyd recalls his first case:

"My very first case was a three-month-old baby whose 16-year-old mother had poisoned him due to her paranoid schizophrenia. And that was working primarily through the family court, as opposed to the criminal court. The good news was the child, by every test we could determine, was unharmed. It did not hurt his future development. The mother got into a very good mental health treatment program and there were a lot of ... larger family dynamics that had contributed to her mental health problem. And at the end of the year, you could see, just to look at her, to listen to her and watch the interaction with her family members, that she was in good stable mental health... and receiving appropriate medication. And the child was now protected."

Lloyd had other cases where the abuser did not have a mental illness, but yet the case was handled in the family court. This reluctance to handle cases in criminal court raised questions for him. When he graduated from law school, he worked for the American Academy of Judicial Education, which started him down the path to reforming how child abuse cases are handled.

" was interesting to me in working with the law enforcement investigators how that child obviously could not testify in court, and so the child in a sense was a piece of evidence, but that there was no thought at that time that this could possibly be treated as a criminal matter as opposed to a family matter."

Interview Summary

Context of the Era

Lloyd remembers that in the early to mid-1970s, there were states that didn't require that an attorney be appointed to represent the interests of a child in an abuse or neglect hearing. It wasn't until the early 1980s that the Court-appointed Special Advocate programs were created. Lloyd further recalls that it was about this same time that Bud Kramer, the prosecutor in Huntsville, Alabama created the first Children's Advocacy Center.

Lloyd eventually joined the Child Protection Center Special Unit of Children's Hospital, National Medical Center in Washington, DC in 1977. He was a part of a program funded by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. Lloyd recalls:

"I did a lot of training for the hospital staff in terms of how criminal court was different than family court. One hundred and fifty children a year was the goal. We would give them complete medical work-ups. We would assist in the interviewing process. Part of my responsibility was for any of those cases that were going to court to provide victim accompaniment. We didn't think a little child should be there alone. ... Well, in the first nine months, we saw almost 200. The second year we saw 350 and from thereafter, it was almost 600 children a year that we saw with alleged sexual abuse."

Greatest Challenge

From Lloyd's perspective, the greatest challenge they faced in effecting change was the subject matter of child sexual abuse. There were law enforcement officers and prosecutors who had a difficult time even talking about sexual abuse. The challenge was further complicated because of the perception the child sexual abuser was "the guy in the dark raincoat lurking around the alley," when in reality, he or she could be a neighbor. The belief at the time that abuse and neglect were associated with poverty offered most people the false assumption that it wouldn't happen to their children. When it was discovered that child sexual abuse crossed all lines, that assumption of safety was shattered. The other challenge was getting these cases handled in the criminal justice system instead of family court.

Successful Strategies

Lloyd remembers employing the tried and true method of showing how your assistance can help someone do his or her job better. When training prosecutors, he would let them know that while his focus was on the health and social services side, he believed there was a place for these cases in the criminal justice system and that free training was available. Lloyd made himself indispensable to the prosecutors and investigators in the system, as well as to the physicians who were called to testify.

Greatest Accomplishment

The most significant accomplishment from Lloyd's perspective was the passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. The legislation was introduced by Representative Mike DeWine of Ohio, a former prosecutor who was interested in how to improve the handling of child abuse cases in criminal courts. The Act codified the progressive state statutes that addressed the use of videotaped testimony, closed-circuit television, court-appointed special advocates and many more of the services in existence today.

Continuing the Field's Growth and Professionalism

Lloyd sees funding issues as one of the driving forces behind the different responses from public versus private, non-profit agencies. While non-profit organizations have always been fairly adaptable to changing funding levels by being creative about filling niches that arise, public agencies reliant on state funds are not able to expand and fill the niches that arise when funding is cut. He would also like to see expanded social services for victims of child pornography and Internet crimes against children.

Lloyd advises new service providers to learn as much as they can about research and evaluation. He also says:

"Learn about advocacy, learn how the political process works. Learn how a state legislature works. Learn how the Federal government works. Learn what to expect from a hearing, that they're not really fact-finding, that they're to get somebody's point of view on the public record, whether that's a good point of view or a bad point of view is somewhat immaterial, particularly if that person is sponsoring the bill."

Lloyd also fondly remembers a time when the field would gather at conferences and have fun. The conferences provided an opportunity for service providers to come together with other providers who understood what serving crime victims was all about. Their approach was "work hard and play hard."

Vision for the Future

Lloyd would like to see more research focused on what is causing the recent decline in reported child sexual abuse cases. He, along with other practitioners, wonder if this is a short- or long- term decline in abuse. He would also like to see the field keep up with technology and how it is used to abuse children. Lloyd cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court case where the question was raised about whether or not putting the picture of one child's head on the body of another constituted victimization. Lloyd would also like to see victim service providers continue to reach out to the clergy and pastoral counselors of all faiths to collaborate and offer services.

Greatest Fear

Lloyd is troubled by the lack of a commitment to provide services and assistance to vulnerable victims, as pressures increase to cut social service budgets or funding opportunities for non-profit services begin to disappear. Lloyd says:

"You think of a child who's been victimized in some horrific way and has not received the assistance and love, to deal with that as they grow up. You have a maladjusted person who is a much higher risk to commit the next violent crime, but we pretend as a country that, 'oh, no, cutting back our taxes is far more important than making sure we have opportunities for that person to get connected and deal with the problems they need to'."
"I think that this country does not want to recognize that we all have a stake in what happens to vulnerable citizens...That concerns me greatly because it's as if we don't know the person individually, then we don't have a stake in their welfare. And that seems to be contrary to what our founding fathers and mothers would say about this country."