DOJ Press Release letterhead

Friday, April 21, 2006
Office of Justice Programs
Contact: Joan LaRocca
Phone: (202) 307-0703
TTY: (202) 514-1888


WASHINGTON . – Honoring recipients of the 2006 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Awards, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today announced more than half a billion dollars to provide support and compensation for crime victims nationwide and to fund an on-line service that provides important information about individual victims' cases.

"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:

Allied Professional Award: Recognizes an individual or organization outside the victim assistance field for services or contributions to the victims' field. Recipient: Dr. Anna I. S. Binkiewicz, Tucson, AZ.

Crime Victims Fund Award: Recognizes outstanding work in pursuit of federal criminal offenders and in the collection of fines, penalty fees, forfeited bail bonds and special assessments that constitute the Crime Victims Fund. Recipient: U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana, Financial Litigation Unit.

Federal Crime Victim Service Award: Honors exceptional contributions and extraordinary impact on behalf of victims in Indian Country, on military installations, in national parks, or other areas governed by federal jurisdiction. Recipient: Susan Shriner, Washington, DC.

National Crime Victim Service Award: Honors extraordinary efforts in direct service to crime victims. Recipients: Sharon Rocha, Modesto, Calif. Delilah Rumburg, Enola, Penn.; Steven R. Siegel, Denver, Colo.; and Hogar de Niños Regazo de Paz, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Professional Innovation in Victim Service Award: Recognizes the development of effective methods for expanding the reach of victims' rights and services. Recipients: Regina Mainor, Philadelphia, Penn.; the Colorado State Patrol Victims' Assistance Unit, Denver, Colo.; and the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center, Upper Marlboro, MD.

Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award: A new award category honoring
individuals whose leadership, vision, and innovation results in significant changes to public policy and practice benefiting crime victims. Recipients: Jeffrey R. Dion, Woodbridge, Va.; and Andy Kahan, Houston, TX.

Special Courage Award: Recognizes extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or courageous act on behalf of a victim or potential victim. Recipients: Carolyn E. Thomas, Waco, TX; and Pan Am Flight 73 - flight attendants and Pan Am Director for Pakistan.

Volunteer for Victims Awards: Honors uncompensated efforts to reach out to crime victims. Recipients: Alan Gross, New York, N.Y.; and W. Gregory Wims, Gaithersburg, MD.

Descriptive narratives about the award recipients can be found at

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