Bail Bonds and Victim Advocacy – An Unlikely Match?

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By Ensuring the Appearance of a Defendant in Court, Bail Bond Agents Can Play a Key Role in Giving Victims a Chance at Justice. ExpertBail, the nation’s largest national bail bond agent network, presented a workshop at the National Center for Victims of Crime’s (NCVC) annual conference last week in New Orleans.

Robert Kersnick (AIA/ExpertBail) presenting at the National Center for Victims of Crime's Annual Conference. Also pictured, Gayle Brandon-Behrend (Lacey OMalley Bail Bonds), Buckley Chappell (Cowboy Bail Bonds) and Eric Granof (AIA/ExpertBail)

“If you asked people walking down the street what the connection was between bail bonds and victim advocacy, I could promise you that the majority of responses would be ‘none’”

ExpertBail, the nation’s largest national bail bond agent network, presented a workshop at the National Center for Victims of Crime’s (NCVC) annual conference last week in New Orleans. While on the surface, this unique pairing of industries seems to be at conflict, the reality is they are very much intertwined. In fact, in a recent survey conducted amongst ExpertBail’s network of bail agents, 86% of agents had an interaction with a crime victim at least once a month. 46% had an interaction with a crime victim at least once a week.

“If you asked people walking down the street what the connection was between bail bonds and victim advocacy, I could promise you that the majority of responses would be ‘none’,” said Robert Kersnick, Chief Operating Officer of AIA, the nation’s oldest and largest family of bail bond insurance companies and creator of the ExpertBail Network. “The reality is that bail agents do play an integral role in supporting the rights of crime victims in the criminal justice system. A bail bond is an insurance policy that guarantees the appearance of a defendant in court. By ensuring the appearance of a defendant, bail agents in essence, ensure that a defendant has a trial. Ultimately that trial gives the crime victim a chance at justice. Last year, through our national network, we ensured over 3.5 million court appearances which translated into over 360,000 victims getting a chance at justice.”

The majority of interactions had by ExpertBail bail agents and victims, about 95%, involve cases of domestic violence. When in the position of comforting and assisting a spouse or significant other through a difficult decision about posting a bond, the bail agent has the opportunity to offer guidance and information at an important time. It is this cross section that has led NCVC into discussions with ExpertBail. “When I first met with the AIA/ExpertBail team, the connection was not as clear as it is now,” says Jeff Dion, Executive Deputy Director for the National Center for Victims of Crime. “Bail agents are in a unique place within the criminal justice system to have a positive impact on victims and we need to find a way to tap into that interaction. We also recently conducted some research amongst our victim advocates to better understand their knowledge of the role that bail agents potentially play in their work. What we discovered was that 80% of victim advocates have no interaction with bail agents. So while the majority of bail agents are interacting with victims, the majority of victim advocates aren’t interacting with bail agents. We think this is a missed opportunity for everyone.”

ExpertBail has identified NCVC as its national charity partner and through its network of agents across the country, will continue to expand its relationship in support of crime victims.

ABOUT EXPERTBAIL
ExpertBail is the bail bond industry’s first true national bail bond network. Comprised of the most experienced and highest quality bail agents in the industry, ExpertBail helps consumers reduce the clutter in the bail marketplace and directs them towards a trusted, proven and experienced bail agent in a simple and transparent way. Expert Bail is backed by AIA, the oldest and largest family of bail bond insurance companies. With over 150 years of stability, trust and knowledge behind every bond written in the ExpertBail Network, our focus is on the consumer and helping them through a difficult time. The mission of ExpertBail and its network of agents is not only to meet the expectations of our customers, but to exceed them substantially.

ABOUT AIA
The AIA family of companies has been partnering with agents across the country for over a century. Formed in 2003 as an alliance of the surety bail industry’s leading companies Allegheny Casualty, International Fidelity and Associated Bond, AIA utilizes a unique “service-focused” approach to management that provides its family of agents with the knowledge, tools and commitment they need to grow their business and succeed. AIA has become the overwhelming industry leader in agent service, national coverage, bail written and number of agents.

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Eric Granof
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