FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                        OVC

TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2003                                                                            202/307-0703





WASHINGTON, D.C. – Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Director John W. Gillis today reaffirmed the Justice Department’s support of a nationwide effort to develop effective services for crime victims with disabilities.


Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Gillis stated, “Crime victims with disabilities frequently tell us that after they were victimized, they were unaware of their basic rights and of the availability of services.  Stopping the victimization of children and adults with disabilities requires the intervention of the criminal justice system, but it must be coupled with strong support from victim assistance and disability service providers.” 


Today’s event was sponsored by SafePlace, a Texas based organization that provides support to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.  In 1996, Safe Place created its Disability Services Program – one of the first such programs in the nation.  In September 2002, OVC, which is a part of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), awarded $850,000 to SafePlace to develop promising practices and models for ensuring that victims with disabilities receive needed services and interventions.


SafePlace’s partners in this effort to develop effective services for crime victims with disabilities will be:


·                      The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault in Tucson, Arizona

·                      The Chadwick Center for Children and Families at Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California

·                      Center for Independent Living of North Florida, Inc. in Tallahassee, Florida

·                      Partnership Against Domestic Violence in Atlanta, Georgia

·                      Carbondale Police Department in Carbondale, Illinois

·                      Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in Thibodaux, Louisiana

·                      Safe Passage, Inc. in Northampton, Massachusetts

·                      Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, Massachusetts

·                      Ulster County Probation Crime Victims Assistance Program in Kingston, New York

·                      Network of Victim Assistance in Doylestown, Pennsylvania


Mr. Gillis joined SafePlace Executive Director Kelly White and SafePlace Disability Services Counselor Kimberly Wisseman at the press conference.      


More information about SafePlace and the Promising Practices for Crime Victims with Disabilities Program is available from the SafePlace website at or by calling 512/267-SAFE. 


Additional information about OVC, its programs and resources are available at through the OJP Website at and from the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872.


Media should contact OJP’s Office of Communications at 202/307-0703.



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