Keynote speaker Congressman Eric Swalwell, who served as a prosecutor in the district attorney's office while on the Dublin City Council, praised O'Malley for her fairness and diligence, and especially for her work in prosecuting hundreds of felony matters ranging from child sexual assault to domestic violence and murder.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors appointed O'Malley as district attorney in September 2009. She sought election to the post in 2010 and was sworn in as the county's first female elected DA on Jan. 3, 2011. She had been an attorney in the DA's office since 1984, and during her career there, she became a nationally recognized expert in the advancement of victims' rights. She also gained national and statewide recognition as an expert in areas including violence against women and interpersonal violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse and stalking/threat management. She is an expert in ethics and discovery and has written statewide protocols in those areas.
O'Malley has been inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame, and was honored by the California State Senate with the Woman of the Year award for her leadership in ending violence against women and for her legislative contributions. She has written several bills that have been signed into law, including the expansion of protections for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and elder abuse as well as stronger protections for child victims and crime victims with disabilities. She serves as both a national and statewide consultant to legislators on pending legislation, including issues of victims' rights, violence against women and sentencing.
Under O'Malley's leadership and vision, Alameda County opened its Family Justice Center, a one-stop shop for victims of family violence, sexual assault, elder abuse and child abuse. It is a model throughout the country.
In naming O'Malley "Citizen of the Year," the TV30 Foundation, Dublin Partners in Education Foundation and the Lions Club of Livermore cited O'Malley's new campaign to stop human trafficking. Posters marking National Human Trafficking Awareness Month are being placed on billboards and in bus shelters throughout the Bay Area as part of a 2015 campaign O'Malley launched to confront the epidemic of human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the region.
The campaign aims to raise the public's awareness that children are being bought and sold for sex every day in our own backyard. "Each of us," O'Malley told her audience, "must be informed about the crisis and understand how to be a part of the solution. Every exploited child must be offered a way out that is safe."
It's a difficult topic, but it must be part of the community conversation if we are going to succeed at ending this form of modern day slavery. By reaching and engaging people with life-saving safety messages through billboards and bus shelter posters, O'Malley's program is an important tool in helping prevent the next child from being taken. These very public messages could be pivotal in rescuing victims and bringing their traffickers to justice.
O'Malley said that with increased community awareness and anonymous tips, more victims will be identified and more children will be protected from becoming victims of exploitation. It's a start in a DA's office that has become a statewide leader in victims' rights and assistance under the direction of Nancy O'Malley, the well-deserving recipient of the 2015 "Citizen of the Year" award.