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Recognizes 10 Individuals and Programs for Their Service to Crime Victims

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Department of Justice is beginning the process of awarding $100 million in Recovery Act funds to victim assistance and compensation programs. The Attorney General made the announcement in his remarks at the National Crime Victims' Rights Week Awards Ceremony where he recognized 10 individuals and programs for their service to crime victims.

Of the $100 million in Recovery Act funds, the Department of Justice will begin the process of distributing $95 million through state formula grants to victim assistance and compensation programs today. In addition to these grants, the Department will award an additional $5 million in Recovery Act discretionary funds to provide training and technical assistance and to support demonstration programs in areas ranging from child abuse to sexual assault to victim services in corrections later this year. State allocations can be found at:

"We all owe a debt to these honorees and to the countless other advocates across the country who tirelessly work to protect victims' rights," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "The Department of Justice is committed to fighting for victims' rights, which is why I'm so pleased we've been able to dedicate funds from the Recovery Act to assist such advocates in their invaluable work."

These annual awards are presented as a prelude to the nation's observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 26-May 2, 2009. This year's theme-"25 Years of Rebuilding Lives: Celebrating the Victims of Crime Act"-highlights the important role this law has played in serving victims.

The Victims of Crime Act was passed in 1984 and one of the innovative aspects of this landmark legislation was the Crime Victims Fund. Fines and penalties from federal criminals-not tax dollars-are paid into the fund to support victim assistance and compensation programs. Since 1984, more than $6.9 billion from the Crime Victims Fund has been distributed. Today, 4,200 local organizations provide counseling, courtroom advocacy, temporary housing, and other services to crime victims. The Fund also has been used to aid victims of mass casualty violence, including the shootings at Virginia Tech and at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, N.Y.

The fund is administered by the Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) through its Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which organized today's awards ceremony and the Candlelight Observance held yesterday in Washington, D.C. In addition to the Attorney General, others at the Candlelight Observance included: Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division; Laurie O. Robinson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OJP; Joye E. Frost, Acting Director, OVC; and Quincy A. Lucas, a victims advocate and founder of Witney's Lights Inc.

The recipients of today's awards were nominated by their colleagues in the victim service and criminal justice fields to recognize their courageous responses in the aftermath of a crime and their professional efforts to better serve the needs of victims with disabilities, to design and implement curricula and tools for victim service providers, and to ensure that victims receive the services that they need.

National Crime Victim Service Award: Honors extraordinary efforts in direct service to crime victims.

Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services: Recognizes a program, organization, or individual that has helped to expand the reach of victims' rights and services.

Volunteer for Victims Award: Honors individuals for their uncompensated efforts to reach out to victims.

Special Courage Award: Recognizes extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or courageous act on behalf of a victim or potential victim.

Allied Professional Award: Recognizes an individual or organization outside the victim assistance field for services or contributions to the victims' field.

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.

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

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.

More information about National Crime Victims' Rights Week, the Crime Victims Fund, and victim assistance and compensation programs is available at: