JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HONORS AWARD RECIPIENTS FOR ADVANCING RIGHTS AND SERVICES TO VICTIMS OF CRIME
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today honored recipients of this year's victims' rights awards as part of the 27th observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 22-28. The week's events began with yesterday's national candlelight observance. This year's theme "Victims' Rights: Every Victim. Every Time" embodies the work of the individuals, networks and partnerships to forge a national commitment to help victims rebuild their lives. National Crime Victims' Rights Week is sponsored by the Department's Office for Victims of Crime.
"This week represents a time to remember and honor those who have suffered at the hands of criminals," said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. "The award recipients we are recognizing today have demonstrated the commitment and dedication it takes to ensure that all victims are heard, and not forgotten. Many of these recipients work tirelessly, unrecognized and behind the scenes, and today I am honored to bring their work to the forefront."
Today's recipients include 12 individuals and three organizations that have made significant contributions toward building awareness of and/or providing services for victims of crime. Among those being honored is a doctor who dedicated himself to the care of sexual assault victims. Through his writings and training video, he educated physicians and nurses in 15 countries about the critical process of forensic evidentiary examinations of rape victims. Also honored is a victim advocate who turned his personal tragedy into improved services for crime victims by creating and maintaining support groups for families and victims of violent crime, including grief and bereavement services.
Also released during today's program is a newly developed DVD, entitled DNA Evidence: Critical Issues for Those Who Work with Victims. The video highlights issues such as the collection and preservation of evidence, a crime's impact on the victim, victim notification at points along the judicial process, and victim involvement and participation in the process. It is also designed to enhance awareness of the impact DNA evidence has on court cases. The DVD is intended for victim advocates, criminal justice professionals, mental health/health care practitioners, and allied professionals.
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 awards and their 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. Recipients: Dr. Randall Brown, Baton Rouge, La.; ADT Security Services-Abused Women's Active Response Emergency (AWARE) program, accepted by Lee Short, Charleston, W.Va.
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 and victim restitution. Recipient: Recipient: Jennifer A. Youngs, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte, N.C.
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: Karen Marie Spinks, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria, Va.
National Crime Victim Service Award: Honors extraordinary efforts in direct service to crime victims. Recipients: Florence (Florrie) Reed Burke, New York, N.Y.; Oglala Sioux Tribe Victims Assistance in Indian Country, accepted by Rosalie Janis, Pine Ridge, S.D.; Dianne (Jacque) Jacqueline MacDonald, Merced, Cal.
Professional Innovation in Victim Service Award: Recognizes the development of effective methods for expanding the reach of victims' rights and services. Recipients: Dr. Ludy Green, Washington, D.C.; Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST), Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Jacksonville, Fla.
Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award: Honors an individual whose leadership, vision, and innovation results in significant changes to public policy and practice benefiting crime victims. Recipient: Dan Levey, Phoenix, Ariz.
Special Courage Award: Recognizes extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or courageous act on behalf of a victim or potential victim. Recipients: Debra Puglisi-Sharp, Lewes, Del.; Jenna Oyler, Kane, Pa.; Patricia (Patsy) Lynn Spier, Centennial, Colo.
Volunteer for Victims Awards: Honors uncompensated efforts to reach out to crime victims. Recipients: Donna Marie Kukura, Shirley, N.Y.; James D. Huffman, EastWenatachee, Wash.
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.