Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole will preside over the National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Awards ceremony 2 p.m. Wed., April 9, honoring ten individuals and programs for exceptional perseverance and innovation in advancing crime victims’ rights. The Department’s Office for Victims of Crime leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week every year and hosts the award ceremony to honor outstanding work on behalf of crime victims.
“Through their courage and critical contributions to assist and empower victims, these individuals and organizations have given hope to countless Americans victimized by crime--even under the most difficult circumstances,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I am proud to recognize these extraordinary advocates by celebrating their achievements and assure them that the Department of Justice is more determined than ever to help ensure their continued success.”
“We are humbled and proud to recognize these extraordinary individuals, teams, and organizations for their outstanding service” said Deputy Attorney General Cole. “These compassionate honorees have become beacons of hope for so many others who have endured shock and deep sadness in the face of too many incidents involving violence and loss.”
President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for renewed emphasis and sensitivity to the rights of victims. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is observed this year from April 6–12, and the theme is “30 Years: Restoring the Balance of Justice.”
The following is a list of the award recipients nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Attorney General:
Allied Professional Award: Recognizing an individual or organization outside the victim assistance field for services or contributions to the victims’ field. Recipient: Forensic Nurse Examiner Team, Christiana Care Health System, Newark, Del.
Crime Victims Financial Restoration Award: Recognizing individuals, programs, organizations or teams that developed innovative ways of funding services for crime victims or instituted innovative approaches for securing financial restoration for crime victims. Recipient: Mi Yung C. Park, trial attorney, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Federal Service Award: Recognizing the extraordinary efforts of federal agency personnel who lead initiatives or reforms and make extraordinary contributions that impact victims of federal, tribal, and military crimes, or more broadly promote victims’ rights and services for underserved victims nationally and internationally. Recipients : FBI Victim Assistance Program and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts; and the U.S. Air Force Special Victims’ Counsel Program.
National Crime Victim Service Award: Honoring extraordinary efforts in direct service to crime victims. Recipients: DC Safe, Washington, D.C.; and Hazel Heckers, victim advocate, Denver, Colo.
Crime Victims’ Rights Award: Honoring those whose efforts to advance or enforce crime victims’ rights have benefited crime victims at the state, tribal, or national level. Recipient: Jamie Balson, prosecutor, Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office, Peoria, Ariz.
Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award: Honoring leadership, innovation and vision that lead to noteworthy changes in public policy that benefit crime victims. Recipient: Pat Tuthill, advocate, Tallahassee, Fla.
Professional Innovation in Victim Service Award: Recognizing a program, organization or individual who has helped to expand the reach of victims’ rights and services. Recipient : The Rapid DNA Service Team, Richmond, Calif.
Special Courage Award: Recognizing extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or courageous act on behalf of a victim or potential victim. Recipient: Paul Traub, Burnsville, Minn.
Descriptive narratives and videos of the contributions of recipients are available at the Office for Victims of Crime’s Gallery .