Debbie & Rob Smith

Conference Speakers
Title: Founder/CEO & President
Phone: 804-829-2656
Debbie and Rob May 2017

Debbie Smith is a mother of two grown children, with seven grandchildren and has been married to Rob for over 45 years. She was a stay at home mom in 1989 when a masked intruder entered her home, abducted, robbed and repeatedly raped her in the woods behind her home in Williamsburg, Va. For six and a half years this crime went unsolved until DNA make a cold hit on a repeat offender who was serving time for other crimes. Since the end of a lengthy and drawn out trial, Debbie has become a crusader intent on helping other victims and trying to prevent others from becoming victims. She has appeared on several TV shows including 60 minutes, Oprah, John Walsh, Jane Pauley, etc. She has been interviewed in numerous national magazines and newspapers. Federal law with Debbie’s name attached (the Justice For All Act of 2004) passed and was signed by President G. W. Bush, which will provide funding to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits, to train first responders such as police, EMTs and nurses and it will standardize rape kits nationwide. This five-year law was passed again for an additional five years as the Debbie Smith Act in 2008 and 2013. Debbie speaks at conferences all over the U.S. and the world in an effort to help others. She is the founder and CEO of H-E-A-R-T, Inc., a non-profit foundation established to aid victims of sexual assault.

Rob Smith retired from the Williamsburg Police Department as a Lt. Detective with more than 25 years of service. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Leo’s University with a BA in Criminal Justice. He retired in order to help Debbie with H-E-A-R-T and serves as president/treasurer for the foundation. Together with Debbie he speaks at conferences bringing his police experience together with his experience as a secondary victim and the husband of a rape survivor. His primary focus is in training first responders how to better understand the mindset of a victim of sexual assault. He has served on the board of directors for the local Williamsburg area battered women’s shelter, AVALON, currently for the local SANE program, and on the Colonial Area Taskforce on Domestic and Sexual Assault.

Both Debbie and Rob are past members of the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) and OVC (Office of Victims of Crime) national advisory committee for establishing a new victim’s service model for law enforcement. They were both members of the board for NREP (National Rape Evidence Program) which raised funds to help with the cost of testing rape kits until the federal grant program started. They were part of the advisory board that established the Virginia Victim/Witness Academy. Debbie was appointed by one governor of Virginia (Kane) to the Criminal Sentencing Commission, by the next governor (McDonnell) to the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board and most recently by current Governor McAuliffe to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. To date, they have presented in 34 different states, Canada, Croatia, South Africa, Australia and Brazil.

Lifetime TV aired the movie, “A Life Interrupted: The Debbie Smith Story” on April 23, 2007. 

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