ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO R. GONZALES ANNOUNCES $551 MILLION TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF CRIME HONORS NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS' RIGHTS AWARDS RECIPIENTS
"Today's award recipients exemplify the best of America's proud tradition of service and sacrifice," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. "These everyday heroes are on the front lines comforting and caring for crime victims and their families. Their work inspires the Justice Department's strong commitment to protect and defend crime victims and to bring to justice those who victimize the innocent."
Approximately $539 million of the $551 million will support crime victims through compensation and assistance programs that provide crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, funeral and burial costs, lost wages or loss of support, and criminal justice advocacy. Attorney General Gonzales also announced that $12.5 million will be awarded to 16 states for the Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification (SAVIN) initiative.
Victim assistance and victim compensation awards are funded by the Crime Victims Fund, which is derived from fines, penalty assessments, and bail forfeitures collected from convicted federal criminals. Victim compensation programs provide reimbursement to, or on behalf of, crime victims for crime-related expenses such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages or loss of support. State victim assistance programs fund local victim assistance services such as crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, and criminal justice system advocacy. Since 1985, the Crime Victims Fund has provided more than $6 billion to support victim assistance and services.
The SAVIN program is an on-line information resource that enables crime victims to obtain offender information via a toll-free number, or by visiting the state's victim information Web site. Crime victims can register to be notified through telephone, e-mail, or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf, each time the status of their offender or case changes. State agencies that manage or plan SAVIN programs were eligible to apply for the grant program.
The SAVIN program is administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is part of the Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP).
OJP opened the national observance of this year's National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 23-29, with a national candlelight observance and today's awards ceremony. Attorney General Gonzales led both events. National Crime Victims' Rights Week is sponsored by OJP's Office for Victims of Crime.
During the ceremony today, Attorney General Gonzales presented awards to 11 individuals and five organizations in eight categories, which included a new award, the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award. This category honors individuals whose work results in significant changes to public policy and practice that benefit crime victims.
National Crime Victims' Rights Week Awards honor those whose outstanding work on behalf of crime victims has earned them the esteem of their colleagues in the victim service and criminal justice fields. The recipients, nominated by their colleagues and approved by the Attorney General, are:
Descriptive narratives about the award recipients can be found at https://ovcncvrw.ncjrs.gov/Awards/AwardGallery/gallerysearch.html.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and an office: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP's American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.