Victim's rights advocate gives keynote at YSU conference

Robert Denton, founding president of the National Organization for Victim Assistance, is the keynote speaker at the biannual Strengths Conference 8 a.m. to 4;30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, in Kilcawley Center on the campus of Youngstown State University.

The conference, co-sponsored by the YSU Department of Social Work, Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic, and the James and Coralie Centofanti Center for Health and Welfare of Vulnerable Populations, is expected to attract dozens of social work students, social service agency practitioners, instructors and other allied health professionals.

The conference, titled “Trauma, Resilience and the Strengths Perspective,” features a variety of presentations, including “Understanding PTSD,” “What’s Talking the Sheepdogs Down: Trauma and Suicide Among First Responders,” “Taking the BURN Out of Burnout,” and “Mindfulness Based Strategies and Somatic Work.”

Denton’s keynote address is titled “Vicarious Trauma, Compassion Fatigue and Other Bothersome Nuisances: What If They’re Normal?” Denton has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Religion, a master’s degree in Theology from Wheaton Graduate School of Theology and a PhD in Social Welfare from the School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. A Licensed Independent Social Worker with supervisory designation under the state of Ohio, Denton has been involved in the victim assistance field for 40 years with a special focus on victim services within law enforcement agencies. He is an original member of the Ohio Attorney General’s Victim Assistance Committee, which advises policy and dispenses state and federal money to victim programs across the state. He is an associate member of the Summit County Chiefs of Police Association and president of the Summit County Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Council. As Executive Director of the Safety Forces Chaplaincy Center, he operates an agency dedicated to providing confidential and cost free services to law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel dispatchers and their families. As chaplain to both the Akron police and fire departments, Denton serves as combined mental health and spiritual leader, which includes death notifications, on site use of force incidents and officer/ fire personnel injuries and deaths.

For more information, contact Stephanie Rhee, assistant professor, Social Work, 330-941-3446 or