Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., today announced two appointments to the Office’s new Special Victims Division: Hannah Pennington as Deputy Chief for Gender-Based Violence Policy, and Beverly Gilchrist as Deputy Chief for Survivor Services. As leaders with expertise in providing services and implementing trauma-informed policies, Hannah and Beverly will greatly enhance the Office’s survivor-centered prosecutions alongside Division Chief Joyce Smith.
Hannah has served as Deputy Commissioner in the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence as well as Executive Director of the Manhattan Family Justice Center. She will work across multiple units within the Office to cultivate an approach rooted in trauma-informed policies that empower survivors. Beverly has led the Office’s Witness Aid Services Unit (“WASU”) for over a decade and will elevate WASU’s prominence across the Office, including renewing and revising protocols, enhancing reporting systems, and encouraging prompt case referrals.
“Hannah and Beverly have spent decades listening to and elevating the voices of survivors,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Their experience as respected policy experts and service providers will greatly enhance our trauma-informed, survivor-centered practice. It’s hard to imagine a more important job, but I know that, together with Division Chief Joyce Smith, we have the best team in place to advance justice and center the experience of survivors.”
Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel said: “We are happy that Hannah Pennington is joining DA Bragg’s new Special Victims Division. She has spent her career advocating for survivors, and I know Hannah’s expertise and commitment will support DA Bragg’s efforts. As a gifted collaborator, she will further strengthen the conversation and action we must take to better serve survivors. We are heartened she will continue to work alongside us as a critical partner in our collective goal of ending domestic and gender-based violence in New York City.”
Liz Roberts, CEO of Safe Horizon, said: “We applaud Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., for his appointment of Hannah Pennington and Beverly Gilchrist to these critical roles of Deputy Chiefs in the Special Victims Division. Their strong leadership, deep expertise and commitment to gaining justice for survivors serves as an excellent addition to the unit. Safe Horizon works closely with the prosecutors and staff of the Special Victims Division, and we look forward to continuing our partnership to help survivors on their path to healing.”
Christopher Bromson, Executive Director of the Crime Victims Treatment Center, said: “Congratulations to both Hannah and Beverly, close friends of our program with whom we’ve worked for well over a decade. Survivors of sexual violence residing in Manhattan who engage in the criminal justice system now have two strong and longtime allies who have been elevated to positions that can enhance and shift the criminal legal response to better support survivors. We look forward to continued partnership and advancement, and look forward to seeing what these two powerhouses can do in their new roles!”
Hannah is currently the Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Training at the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, where she has worked in policy and program development and management since 2015, after serving as the first Executive Director of the Manhattan Family Justice Center. Previously she was the Bronx Legal Director for Sanctuary for Families and worked as a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton representing corporate and pro bono clients, and as a judicial clerk for the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Beverly Gilchrist is currently the Director of WASU’s advocates and counselors. Beverly joined the Office in 1990, and has served as a Social Services Worker, Deputy Supervisor, and Deputy Director. Beverly also briefly served as a Resource Coordinator in the Bronx Supreme Court. Beverly is the Office’s victim service liaison to the Mayor’s Office, and the Manhattan Family Justice Center, as well as the Office’s lead victim services trainer for Assistant D.A.s, the NYPD, and community and hospital-based organizations. Beverly is a member of the Manhattan Sexual Assault Task Force, the Downstate Coalition and The New York City Crime Victims Vigil committee. Beverly also co-chairs the Office’s Prosecution and Community Advocates Collaborative Working Group.