FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     OVC

THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2003                                                                                      202/307-0703





WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General John Ashcroft today led the first national candlelight observance to honor and remember victims of crime.  The observance was part of the commemoration of the 23rd annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. 


"Tonight it is particularly appropriate that we stand here ‑ together ‑ to remember those who were lost, and to rededicate ourselves to seeking justice on behalf of all of America’s victims.  For many of you, this candlelight service is an opportunity to shine light into the darkness that crime has brought into your lives," Attorney General John Ashcroft said. "I thank the dedicated work of service providers and advocates who reach out to victims of crime and help them rebuild their lives."


The observance was sponsored by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a component of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).  OJP Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels and OVC Director John W. Gillis joined the Attorney General at the observance, along with Roscoe C. Howard, Jr., United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-1st District). 


At today’s observance, ten “promise makers” from across the nation highlighted key goals and priorities in ensuring that crime victims needs are met and that their rights are recognized.  In addition, Director Gillis acknowledged eight individuals and two teams for exceptional work on behalf of crime victims.  These people will receive awards from the Justice Department on Saturday, April 12. 


OVC provides federal leadership in promoting policies and practices that support victim participation in the criminal justice system.  OVC also supports efforts to improve services provided to crime victims and to address victim needs.    


A list of the individuals and teams recognized at tonight’s ceremony is attached. More information on the 2003 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, as well as information about OVC programs, publications and conferences, is available 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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OVC 03038     

After hours contact: Adam Spector, 202-307-3912

                                     U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

                                             OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS

                                             OFFICE FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME


                 2003 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Award Winners


Crime Victim Service Awards

Francis and Carole Carrington

Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation

Modesto, California


Mary Lawrence, Director

Onondaga County District Attorney’s Victim Advocate Program

Baldwinsville, New York


Joyce Nottingham Miller

Victims of Crime and Leniency

Montgomery, Alabama


Steven John Twist, Victims’ Rights Advocate

Scottsdale, Arizona


Special Courage Award

Kimberly Black Wisseman, Domestic Violence Counselor


Austin, Texas                                                         


Volunteer for Victims Award

Sister M. Marcian Deisenroth, RSM, Victim Advocate

Aurora, Illinois


Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services

Mel S. Johnson, Assistant United States Attorney, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Federal Service Award

United States Attorney’s Victim Witness Program, District of Arizona

Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona


Crime Victims Fund Award

Financial Litigation Unit, District of Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona