Shari Kastein is the CEO of the Family Crisis Centers in Sioux Center, Iowa. In the 1980s when Ms. Kastein sat in a courtroom to face her 15-month-old daughter’s rapist, she had no voice. Leaving the courthouse, Ms. Kastein pledged to change victims’ rights and services so that others had better opportunities and resources than she did. Over the past three decades, Ms. Kastein has led the charge to transform the victim services landscape across the Midwest, as well as challenge the status quo of how others treat victims and survivors of many types of violence.
One day she was a victim of violent crime, yet today Ms. Kastein rose above her circumstances to become an honorable example of what a determined survivor looks like. She is a nationally-renowned humanitarian, and through her work and outreach initiatives, Ms. Kastein has developed and implemented victim services and programs in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.
Ms. Kastein’s voice has led to becoming Office Victims’ of Crime (OVC’s) 2019 award recipient for the Special Courage Award. Over the years, Ms. Kastein has received a number of other awards for her work. Ms. Kastein is a voice for those who feel they have no voice and encourages others to join the movement to better understand, support and advocate for victims of violence.