Report to Congress
December 1999

Appendix 9

Recipients of the Crime Victim
Service Award for FYs 1997 and 1998


Vice Chair, Texas Board of Criminal Justice

Ellen Halbert was raped, beaten, repeatedly stabbed and left for dead by a drifter dressed in a black Ninja outfit who broke into her home. She left her job as a real estate broker and dedicated her life to victim services. Today, Ms. Halbert has just finished a six-year term as the Vice Chair of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which oversees the massive criminal justice system for the State of Texas. Appointed to this position by Governor Ann Richards as the first victim to serve on this important board, Ms. Halbert had oversight responsibility for the world's largest prison system, parole, probation, state jails and victim services, and has become one of the state's foremost leaders in restorative justice. Ms. Halbert's leadership and determination has led to marked changes in the criminal justice system in Texas including victim sensitivity training for thousands of parole and probation officers, a 30 member volunteer Victim Services Advisory Council, and victim impact panels used inside the prison units prior to parole or release. She is the first victim to have a prison unit named after her—The Ellen Halbert Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility for Women. Her nominator wrote that Ellen Halbert is, "a true 'standard bearer' whose person and accomplishments establish the scope and promise by which the victims movement and all related programs are judged."

Peggy Bird, Director
Native American Family Violence Prevention Project

For thirty years DNA has provided free legal and other services to victims of crime on the Navajo and Hopi nations. From its nine offices located throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, DNA serves victims in some of the most remote and impoverished places in America. At a time when many legal service programs do not serve crime victims at all, domestic violence cases have constituted nearly 20 percent of DNA's total caseload for the past three years. DNA has been instrumental in the development safe homes, support groups, shelters and crisis counseling for victims on the Navajo Nation, as well as in drafting police arrest protocols for the Navajo Nation police force, and in the drafting and passage of culturally appropriate domestic violence laws for both the Navajo Nation and the Hopi tribe. DNA has also worked to increase public awareness of the new domestic violence laws, and to train Navajo nation police, courts, peacemakers, hospitals, and social service offices about their obligations under the laws.

DNA's Native American Family Violence Prevention Project conducts basic community education about family violence prevention across the entire Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Peggy Bird, the director of the Project, is a Native American attorney from the Santo Domingo Pueblo who has herself been a victim of domestic violence. In 1993, Ms. Bird started weekly women's support groups. She is the co-President of the Shiprock Domestic Violence Task Force, and a member of the Attorney General's Task Force on Domestic Violence and the New Mexico Stop Violence Against Women oversight committee. DNA's nominator wrote that the dedication of this group of professionals to help victims of crime has been truly "extraordinary."

Janice Lienhart, Executive Director

Janice Lienhart and Sharon Nahorney formed Victims for Justice in 1985 after their parents and aunt were brutally murdered and they discovered that there was no organization or support network in Alaska that could help them deal with their grief. Victims for Justice is now the only organization in the state to provide victim services such as crisis intervention, short- and long-term individual and peer group counseling, advocacy and support in dealing with the criminal justice system, and community education. The organization's two founders have forged alliances with other victims to bring about significant changes to both public attitudes and public policies concerning how family members of homicide victims are treated. Their dedication and leadership culminated in the passage of a State constitutional amendment on victims rights, and the passage of a juvenile waiver law that ensures that teenagers who commit violent felonies are held accountable for their conduct. The Attorney General of Alaska, who nominated Victims for Justice wrote, "Janice Lienhart, Sharon Nahorney and others have poured their hearts and souls into ensuring that victims throughout Alaska have a place turn for help."

Violent Crime Counselor

Karen Muelhaupt has been a compassionate and pioneering advocate for crime victims for more than a decade. As a young woman, she was attacked and raped as she was walking home from her apartment. Since that time she has dedicated herself to improving services to crime victims through her work as a pre-sentence investigator for Iowa's Fifth Judicial District, as a rape counselor, and currently as a violent crime counselor. Not only does she provide advocacy and counseling for victims of violent crime, but she works tirelessly to expand rights and services for crime victims in Iowa. She helped develop a death notification training manual for coroners, law enforcement, prosecutors and victim service providers; she led the development of the Polk County Homicide Crisis Response Team; she set up teams to clean up murder scenes and debrief workplaces, neighborhoods and groups affected by homicide; and she provides training to rape crisis and domestic abuse workers to extend their services to rural areas. On her own time, Ms. Muelhaupt organized the funding, design, and construction of a doll house-size courthouse to prepare children for court. Despite a recent diagnosis of cancer, Ms. Muelhaupt's efforts on behalf of crime victims have remained unflagging. She continues to work, often retiring to bed at 5 pm in order to maintain her energy. Her nominator wrote, "Karen embodies the spirit, conviction and energy of the crime victims movement."

Volunteer Victim Advocate
Genesee County Victim Assistance Program

Evelyn Dillon has contributed more than 12,500 hours of unpaid work since 1985 in her missionary work on behalf of crime victims. Her nominator wrote, "She is a 'pure volunteer victim advocate' who will do whatever and go wherever is necessary to help attend to and restore a victim who has been broken by crime." In 1983, Mrs. Dillon's husband became the first IRS officer to be murdered in the line of duty in Buffalo, NY. Since that time, Mrs. Dillon has provided extensive outreach services to victims in the upstate New York region. In 1987 Mrs. Dillon founded the Genesee County Victim Support Coalition, and she currently services as the victim advocacy liaison for the Genesee County Victim Assistance Program with the Genesee County MADD chapter and the Genesee County Chapter of Compassionate Friends. She is the standing victim member on the Genesee County Criminal Justice Advisory Council, and she is a steadfast correspondent with state legislators regarding the status of victim legislation in the areas of compensation, parole notification, victim impact statements, and statements at the time of sentencing and fair treatment of victims in the courtroom. As she approaches the age of 75, her nominator calls her, "a vision of hope to every victim."

Gang Victim Services Program
Irvine, California
Margot Carleson, Executive Director

The Gang Victim Services program of Community Service Programs was created in 1990 to provide crisis intervention and assistance to victims of gang related violence and their families. Last year the seven bicultural and bilingual gang victims specialists and the one witness specialist on staff provided help to more than 970 victims of gang violence. Wearing bulletproof vests and Crisis Response jackets, program counselors accompany investigating officers to give death notifications, assess victims' safety and emergency needs, and provide continuing counseling services, referrals, and support groups. Fear of retaliation, intimidation and revenge often prevent gang violence victims from seeking help or exercising their rights. Working closely with the District Attorney's Gang Unit, Gang Victim Services staff provide support to victims and witnesses throughout the investigation and prosecution of each case. Ms. Christine Lopez, the program supervisor, is recognized statewide and nationally for her expertise in gang related victim/witness issues and for her knowledge of the Hispanic community. In 1993, Ms. Lopez was awarded the first annual Doris Tate Award by Governor Pete Wilson in recognition of her outstanding commitment and service to victims of crime. Gang Victim Services was recently recognized as a model program by the Office for Victims of Crime and is currently developing a protocol for similar programs across the Nation.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jay Howell began his involvement in the victims field as a victim-sensitive prosecutor in Jacksonville, Florida. As the Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Investigations and General Oversight, he was instrumental to the passage of landmark legislation affecting missing and exploited children who, at that time, comprised a truly underserved victim population. Mr. Howell later founded and was the first Executive Director for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 1986 he was a founding member of the National Victims' Constitutional Amendment Network (NVCAN), which has provided sound legal counsel in developing amendment language and strategies for states, 29 of which have successfully secured passage of victims constitutional amendments. He remains a key activist in NVCAN's current efforts to secure a federal constitutional amendment. As a civil attorney for the past 10 years, Mr. Howell has helped define the relatively new discipline of victim-related civil litigation. His nominator wrote, "Jay is truly an 'unsung hero'—he is not doing the right thing for any recognition, but simply because it is right, and it is needed by traumatized victims, as well as by our communities that strive to promote greater safety for all of us."

Director, Rape/Crime Victim Advocate Program
Gainesville, Florida

For the past 14 years, Loretta Lewis-Golden worked tirelessly to shape the development and growth of the Rape/Crime Victim Advocate Program in the university town of Gainesville, Florida. Starting as an Advocate Counselor in 1982 and Director of the program since 1993, Ms. Lewis-Golden is the epitome of a direct service provider and advocate for victims rights who has gone "above and beyond" the call of duty in her dedication and commitment to crime victims. She was described by her nominators at "a quiet, persistent, and inspirational leader," who is able to break down barriers and instill trust and communications between victims, victim service providers, correctional institutions, law enforcement agencies, and the medical profession. An exceptional trainer and eloquent speaker, Ms. Lewis-Golden has presented at local and statewide conferences and is active in victim groups nationwide.

As an advocate and community activist, Ms. Lewis-Golden led grassroots efforts to get a State constitutional amendment passed on victims' rights. Her successful annual Rape Awareness Luncheon brings much needed attention to the concerns of rape victims. Through her hours of volunteer consultation and training, she has changed the attitudes and practices of law enforcement, the State's Attorney's Office, and the judiciary towards crime victims. The Gainesville Commission on the Status of Women awarded her the Martha Varnes Award for Achievement in Sexual Battery Prevention. She also received the University of Florida Woman of Achievement Award in 1995 for the impact she has had on University of Florida students. She is a member and co-developer of the National Black Women's Health Project, a local self-help group.

Executive Director, LAO/USC Violence Intervention Program
Los Angeles, California

A brilliant physician, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and victim advocate, Dr. Heger founded the Center for the Vulnerable Child in 1984. Together with her newly established Violence Intervention Program at L.A. county—USC Medical Center, the combined program is the first Family Advocacy Center in the Nation. The concept she developed has now generated over 300 Child Advocacy Centers across the United States. Dr. Heger is recognized nationwide for pioneering the use of photo-documentation techniques for the medical evaluation of child and adolescent victims of sexual assault. In addition to her work with children, Dr. Heger expanded the use of multidisciplinary services—medical treatment interfacing with legal, social and mental health services—for child and adult victims of family and community violence. Recently, she developed and implemented the first telemedicine project to guarantee that remote areas will have access to expert evaluations to protect the rights of victims.

Dr. Heger has devoted her entire professional career to guaranteeing that victims of violence receive sensitive, loving attention as well as the highest quality of medical care and forensic documentation. Responding to the need for medical professionals to be more sensitive to victims of spousal abuse, she is building the first hospital-based emergency shelter for women and children. The LAPD commended her for devoting so much of her time to educating law enforcement officers on the dynamics of child sexual abuse, thus ensuring that child abuse investigations will be conducted in a professional and sensitive manner.

Executive Director, Exodus Center for Life
Cleveland, MS

Pastor Mitchell opened his New Life Church in Cleveland, Mississippi, to a Salvation Army rape crisis program in need of a home. He is the rare minister in a rural community in the South to speak out against spousal violence, spousal rape, sexual assault, and child abuse. Pastor Mitchell speaks from his own personal experience as a victim of domestic violence. When only nine years old, he had a gun put to his head while trying to protect his mother. Many a cold winter morning he had to flee the house with his mother and smaller siblings to hide in the cotton fields, away from the reach of his abusive father.

Pastor Mitchell is best known for talking to students in junior and senior high schools and Headstart programs about child abuse. He uses puppets to show young people that their bodies should not be touched by anyone. He has developed a special program called "Preparing Our Sons to Manhood: Salvaging the Seeds" to reach youth on prevention techniques instead of crimes against the family. He also serves as a counselor in the MASH Program—Men Against Spousal Harm—a batterers program with an exceptionally high success rate.


For the past 20 years Sue Hathorn has waged a one woman campaign against child abuse in Mississippi. Touched by the memory of an abused child she saw returned to a home where he had been beaten, she vowed to change the system, to develop services, shelters, and legal protection for abused children. In 1984 she organized the Mississippi Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse. Her well-known statewide conferences on child abuse educate over 500 child advocates each year. She realized her dream of funding a Children's Advocacy Center for the State of Mississippi by forging a unique partnership with the private sector in which charitable bingo fund raising was used to defray expenses. Her struggle to create the remarkable center is recounted in James Colbert's book God Bless the Child: A True Story of Child Abuse, Gambling, Southern Politics...And One Woman's Struggle Against the Odds. Colbert's book tells of a 7-year-old who was afraid to testify in court against the perpetrator who sexually molested her. The terrified child asked that Sue's German shepherd, Vachss, an obedience trained dog, be allowed to accompany her to Court. With Vachss at her feet, the first dog ever admitted to a Mississippi courtroom for that purpose, the little girl testified in a loud and clear voice.

Ms. Hathorn was also the moving force behind the establishment of several important multidisciplinary, public/private partnerships of law enforcement, social services, medical, and judicial personnel for the investigation of child abuse cases in Mississippi. She organized Mississippi's Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a network of specially trained volunteers who advocate for child victims in 17 Mississippi counties. Children First! Inc. was established by Ms. Hathorn to help teens in foster care pursue educational and vocational training goals. A foster mother of 11 children, Ms. Hathorn knows firsthand the lack of services for foster children in Mississippi. She has obtained pro bono legal representation for hundreds of foster children, as well as finding medical, psychological, and financial assistance for foster children and child abuse victims.

Senior Policy Analyst
Education Development Center, Inc.
Newton, Massachusetts

As both a paid professional and a volunteer, Karen McLaughlin has worked for over 20 years—since her college days at Marquette University—at the cutting edge of victim services. She is a true "unsung hero" of the victims movement, having initiated a remarkable series of firsts in victims services. She was a key activist in Massachusetts' efforts to become one of the FIRST six states to establish a statewide network of victim services, and then became the FIRST Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, itself the FIRST independent state agency for victim assistance funded by state criminal fines. As Executive Director she awarded the FIRST VOCA funding to assist victims of anti-gay violence, as well as the FIRST parole-based victim assistance program. She sponsored one of the FIRST statewide trainings on community crisis response and organized the FIRST statewide conference on victimization of racial minorities. As the same time, she put in endless hours of volunteer time, much of it traveling to promote international networking on behalf of victims. Clearly, her influence on victims services both in the United States and abroad has been profound. Today her creative energy is directed towards violence prevention—an integral part of comprehensive victim assistance. Working with the National Organization of Victim Assistance, she has helped guide the field to a better understanding of the need for violence prevention strategies, particularly for child victims of violence. Her nominator described her as "a pioneering program director, an imaginative and courageous state administrator, a creative force for growth ..., and one of the most giving of victim advocates our movement has produced."

Director, Pima County Attorney's Victim Witness Program
Tucson, AZ

Ms. Sharpe's career in victim services began in the volunteer corps of the Pima County Attorney's Victim Witness program in 1976. She became the first staff volunteer coordinator in 1984 and since 1985 has served as Director of the program. Under her leadership the program has become a national model. Ms. Sharpe is best known for her extraordinary training and speaking skills. She has trained advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors throughout the United States and in New Zealand, "literally effecting the quality of services provided to thousands of victims," according to her nominator. Astonishingly, all of these trainings were provided on her vacation time and the majority without compensation. In the last year alone, she taught crisis intervention skills and victimology in Indiana, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, Hawaii, and Utah. She is described as a "masterful woman who is guided by her own sense of purpose and her single-minded dedication to making a difference."

Special Courage Award:
The Tariq Khamisa Foundation
San Diego, California

Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix had never met—had never even heard of each other—before January 21, 1995. On that Saturday, Axim Khamisa's only son, Tariq, 20, an art student at San Diego State University, was shot to death as he was delivering pizza. The trigger was pulled by Ples Felix's 14-year-old grandson, Tony Hicks, on the orders of an older gang member. Tony was caught, charged, and pleaded guilty to the killing. Sentenced under a new California law that allows children as young as 14 to be tried as adults, Tony will be 37 years old before he is eligible for parole. "All the dreams and hopes I had for Tony just came crumbling down," says Ples, Tony's grandfather and guardian.

Nearly overwhelmed with grief, but believing "that there were victims at both ends of the gun," Azim got in touch with Ples and invited him to be a part of forming the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to combat the phenomena in our society of "children killing children." Through the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, Azim and Ples have taken their message of nonviolence and concern for children to the San Diego school system. They have presented the first in a series of Violence Impact Forums which are designed to inform kids, parents, and school officials about the devastating consequences of violence, how to deal with peer pressure to join gangs, and provide information about school and community victim services.

It took courage for Ples to go to Azim's home that November day in 1995. It also took forgiveness, compassion and great valor for Azim to make the call. Today, these two men have formed a strong alliance to save other families from a similar tragedy. They have been featured on national television shows, in People Magazine, and in many other publications due to their unique educational efforts.

1998 Crime Victim Service Awards

Honored by the Attorney General were:
Director, Dade County Victim Assistance
Unit, State Attorney's Office
1350 NW. 12th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33136

Denise Moon's career in victim services spans 24 years, from her hiring as the first social worker at the Jackson Memorial Hospital Rape Treatment Center/Crisis Intervention Clinic in Miami in 1974 to her current duties as director of the Victim Assistance Unit of the Dade County State Attorney's Office. She helped organize the Children's Center, a special unit dedicated to the forensic interviewing of child victims and witnesses. In 1987, she helped initiate the first prosecutor-based domestic violence unit in Florida, and in 1992, she helped design and implement a pioneering misdemeanor domestic violence court. She also helped establish Tourist Lock-Up Criminals, a joint venture among hotels, tourist agencies and the State Attorney's Office that encourages out-of-town victims to return for court proceedings. She authored a funding proposal that now supports the Victim Access Network, a comprehensive automated victim notification and information system. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Network of Victim Witness Services since 1986 and was elected its president in 1991. A true stalwart of the victims movement, Denise Moon has been described as "the ultimate professional."

P.O. Box 7829
Overland Park, Kansas 66207

Gene and Peggy Schmidt have dedicated their impressive efforts on behalf of crime victims to their daughter Stephanie, a college student who was raped and murdered by a co-worker recently released after serving 10 years for rape. The day after Stephanie's funeral in 1993, the Schmidts formed a task force that proposed state legislation including: requiring first-time sex offenders to register with local sheriffs upon parole; making registry information accessible to the public; increasing sentences for sex offenders; expanding sanctions against job applicants who lie about criminal history and mandating that the state notify employers of the hiring of parolees. These measures have all been accomplished through changes in Kansas law and policy. The task force also advocated passage of the Sexually Violent Predator Law, known as "Stephanie's Law," which provides for the civil commitment of sexual offenders who suffer from mental abnormalities or personality disorders and are likely to reoffend. Used for the first time in 1994, "Stephanie's Law" was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 23, 1997. The Schmidts have testified or been invited to testify on similar legislation before eight state legislatures, and, along with their daughter, Jeni, testified before Congress on the 1994 Crime Bill. Through a number of nationwide public appearances, including "60 Minutes," and through their nonprofit organization, Speak Out for Stephanie, which sponsors educational and mentoring programs for elementary, secondary and college students, the Schmidts have spread their message that, by breaking the cycle of violence among potential offenders, future sex offenses can be prevented.

Founder, Friends of Amanda Foundation
28 Cherry Hill Lane
Manalapan, New Jersey 07726

Karen Wengert derives the force of her conviction from the memory of her 6 1/2-year-old daughter Amanda, who was molested and murdered in 1994 by a next-door neighbor whose record of sex offenses was shielded by state and local laws. Vowing to prevent the same tragedy from befalling other children, she founded the Friends of Amanda Foundation, from which she has been a staunch advocate for legislative reform to protect victims. Among the New Jersey laws she has strongly influenced are the Amanda Act, a measure that allows police and authorized officials to examine juvenile records for incidents of violent crime, and the Peeping Tom Law, which allows voyeurs to be psychologically examined. Ms. Wengert encouraged the passage and enactment of the No Early Release Act requiring the most violent criminals to serve a minimum of 85 percent of their sentences. Her contributions extend to direct service. When she saw the benefits of art therapy to her two surviving children, she sought to establish a free art therapy program for battered children. In 1997, she and Monmouth County Senator John 0. Bennett proposed Amanda's Easel, which is now operated by the Women's Center of Monmouth County and serves battered women and children. Ms. Wengert serves as a volunteer art therapy assistant in the program. She also completed training to become a Child Assault Prevention Facilitator and works on behalf of children throughout Monmouth County. She was appointed last year by Governor Whitman to the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Peggie Reyna, Program Coordinator
6043 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90028

The Deaf and Disabled Services Program of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women is one of the only organizations in the nation that provides services to deaf and disabled victims of crime. Created in 1989 to aid victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, it seeks to empower members of the deaf and disabled community. To that end, it relies on deaf and disabled individuals, rather than interpreters, to provide services, and emphasizes intervention, prevention and education. The program offers an array of activities not only to aid individual victims, but also to interrupt the cycle of violence. Classes are tailored to meet the needs of those with physical, visual and developmental disabilities. An off-shoot of the program, Deaf Kids Self Defense and Safety, teaches children how to protect themselves from abuse. The Deaf and Disabled Services Program also trains staff and volunteers at domestic violence shelters to equip them to work with deaf and disabled battered women. The program was also instrumental in the creation of a TDD line for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The program's impact is exemplified in the story of a young deaf and mute woman who was repeatedly raped and beaten by her father and brother. Because she lacked any language abilities and was unable to communicate, many shelters turned her away. Program staff persevered, found a safe haven for the victim and taught her sign language. The young woman now has close contact with family and friends and lives without the threat of violence.


Jamie C. Tiedemann, Director
Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Athletics
University of Minnesota
407 Boynton Health Service, 410 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455

The University of Minnesota Program Against Sexual Violence, established in 1991, immediately became an innovator in sexual assault and family violence advocacy programs through its association with a major university. Staffed with 5 full- and part-time employees and up to 50 volunteers, the program provides 24-hour on-call services and serves over 200 victims and survivors a year. Approximately 20,000 students, staff, faculty and alumni benefit from its educational outreach each year. The program offers a variety of unique activities such as: small group training for men and women athletes and coaches, which has reached over 600 participants; an interactive dramatic presentation on sexual assault and an interactive presentation that addresses same sex violence. The program administers two 52-hour training programs a year for sexual assault advocates and a 35-hour summer training for volunteers and staff of rural community-based sexual assault, domestic violence and victim/witness programs. Its advocacy training course has been integrated into the university's Women Studies curriculum. The program has worked with campus police to provide student victims transportation to court proceedings and has arranged special accommodations for victims with the registrar and student employment offices. The program has pioneered initiatives such as the Minnesota Higher Education Center Against Violence and Abuse and a partnership with the School of Dentistry to develop a family violence training model for dental professionals.

Chair, Arizona MADD
5691 W. Abraham Lane
Glendale, Arizona 85308

In 1981, the car Sharon Sikora was driving was hit by a drunken motorist and became engulfed in flames, causing burns over 95 percent of her body and paralysis of her vocal cords due to smoke inhalation. The Phoenix Fire Department Commander who responded to the crash described it this way: "The horror of what happened to Sharon was almost beyond description. I didn't feel she had any chance of survival." Since the accident, she has endured more than 70 reconstructive surgeries and has become a leading advocate for crime victims' rights. She co-founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), established the Arizona state chapter, and has made special effort to reach out to victims in rural counties and Indian country. She initiated the Ashes to Life Burn Support Group for survivors of significant burn injuries and co-founded the Fire Pal board of the Phoenix Fire Department, which oversees efforts to improve fire safety programs. She has advocated for .08 blood alcohol content legislation and Juvenile Zero Tolerance DUI laws. She helped launch a statewide DUI task force involving 65 police agencies that resulted in over 2,600 DUI arrests this past holiday season. She was instrumental in the passage of the Arizona Victim Bill of Rights. As a member of the Kentucky, School Bus Crash, MADD Crisis Team, Ms. Sikora made three trips to Radcliff, Kentucky, to assist victims and survivors of a drunk driving crash that left 24 youths and three adults dead and 14 others seriously injured. She currently sits on the board of the Arizona Victim Compensation Program, the Foundation for Burns and Trauma, the Phoenix Fire Department Fire Pals, Arizona Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and National Students Against Drunk Driving. Through her years of dedicated service, she has cultivated a second-generation victims advocate in her 26-year-old daughter, who is also a drunk driving victim. Of her many accomplishments, Ms. Sikora says she is proudest of being her daughter's mentor.

Executive Director
Toledo/Lucas County Victim/Witness Assistance Program
700 Adams Street, Suite 250
Toledo, Ohio 43604

Joan Coleman is responsible for one of the most comprehensive victim assistance programs in the country. Since becoming Executive Director of the Toledo/Lucas County Victim/Witness Assistance Program seven years ago, she has presided over the development of a multi-faceted organization that offers a full range of services to victims of all persuasions. Among the components of the program are: a general victim services office; a Special Services Division in the Juvenile Prosecutor's Section of Family Court; a child watch area for female victims of violent crime in Toledo Municipal Court; a 24-hour crisis response team and a multi-disciplinary advisory council. The program's Victims' Forum uses panels of victims and juvenile offenders to heighten the awareness of junior high and high school students about the repercussions of violent crimes and guns. The program also operates the only Hispanic/Latino Outreach Office in Ohio. Staffed with 17 employees and 30 volunteers, the program has aided over 40,000 victims and assisted them in receiving more than $3.5 million in compensation. In addition to her program responsibilities, Ms. Coleman's efforts led to the development of a uniform system for victim notification that preceded by two years the state law requiring this practice on the felony level. Prior to the statutory mandate of victim impact statements, she convinced trial judges to allow victims to speak at sentencing hearings. As a member of the National Organization for Victim Assistance national crisis response team, she provided crisis intervention to 28 crew members of the Canadian Enterprise Freighter after a tragedy ended the life of a fellow crew member. Ms. Coleman takes personal responsibility for the victims she serves, often helping to pay victims' rent and electric and telephone bills, taking food to those in need and personally relocating frightened victims and witnesses. Often putting in over 70 hours a week, Joan Coleman is a consummate professional who gives completely of herself to crime victims.


Mily Trevino Saucedo, Executive Director
611 South Rebecca Street
Pomona, California 91766

The Lideras Campesinas Farmworker Women's Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Project reaches out to the underserved population of crime victims—abused migrant women farm workers. Concentrating on domestic violence victims among migrant communities in California's southern and central valley, the program addresses the social, economic, political and language barriers that render this group difficult to reach. Lideras Campesinas began in 1990 as a result of issues uncovered during a graduate research project on domestic violence in farm worker communities. It implemented a Domestic Violence Prevention Program in 1993 and began conducting statewide training to local farm worker advocates. In 1996, the organization expanded its educational model to include a sexual assault component. A true grass roots organization, the project relies on an advisory committee comprised of representatives from 15 communities to keep the project focused on the needs of women farm workers and their families. Under the committee's guidance, the project selects interested women farm workers and provides them intensive training in awareness, dynamics and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as the resources available to victims. These advocates return to their communities and educate other farm worker women through conferences and social gatherings. Lideras Campesinas has reached over 10,000 women farm workers. Its impact has reached across the globe as project staff have discussed an advocacy exchange program with the "Delta" project in Cape Town, South Africa. An organization whose trademark is its respect for the integrity of community, Lideras Campesinas gives a voice to women who often lack the resources to speak on their own behalf.

P.O. Box 127 & P.O. Box 323
Fort Thompson, South Dakota 57339

Special Heroism Award—On the evening of November 2, 1996, Merle Seeking Land and Trinity Gravatt were on their way home from a friend's house in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, on the Crow Creek Sioux Indian Reservation, when they heard a woman crying and shouting that she was being raped. They found the woman pinned to the ground, her clothes ripped away, being sexually assaulted, and they pulled the attacker away. The man, who had been drinking, attempted to leave the scene, but Mr. Seeking Land and Mr. Gravatt restrained him. The attacker became belligerent, pushing both of them, and as he tried to flee, Mr. Gravatt knocked him out. They then ran to call the police and returned to comfort the woman while they waited for authorities. The attacker was arrested and later charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Despite the influence of the defendant's family in the community and pressure to withdraw their cooperation with the investigation, both Mr. Seeking Land and Mr. Gravatt testified at the grand jury hearing, which was held approximately 175 miles from their home, and then at the trial, which was held in Aberdeen, about 150 miles from Fort Thompson. Their testimony helped to convict the defendant on both counts and to secure a sentence of 121 months in prison and 4 years of supervised release.


The largest-scale act of terrorism ever committed on North American soil, the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City left 168 men, women and children dead and hundreds of others injured. The heroic rescue efforts and crisis response to the victims and survivors in its immediate aftermath earned the Nation's collective admiration and praise. The scope of the tragedy brought to the trials that followed a set of dynamics unprecedented in the history of the U.S. criminal justice system. The complexities of the cases against Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the great public scrutiny of the Denver trials and the sheer number of victims and survivors made the work of those involved seem a daunting undertaking. The dedication, compassion and perseverance demonstrated by the members of these eight groups may be characterized as nothing short of extraordinary.

Gwen Allen, Director
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
1200 NE. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73152

Project Heartland began as the immediate mental health response to the bombing and continued as a crisis intervention mechanism throughout the trials and has now reached over 4,000 individuals. Opening with a staff of 5 individuals and eventually employing 73, it has provided counseling, support groups, outreach, consultation and education. When the trials began, project staff continued to offer their services through the debriefing of prosecution witnesses, support to victim family members and survivors attending the trial or closed-circuit broadcasts and preparing those individuals for some of the more difficult testimony.

Colonel Jack Poe, Chief of Chaplains
Oklahoma City Police Department
701 Concord Drive
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102

The Critical Incident Workshops Group is comprised of police and fire chaplains who arrived at the Alfred P. Murrah Building immediately after the bombing. These chaplains mobilized more than 700 clergy from around the country to help the survivors, families and rescuers on site and at a Family Response Center. In the days and months following the bombing, the group began conducting critical incident workshops to help rescuers cope with their experiences. These workshops became integral to the healing of those affected by the tragedy.

Steve Siegel, Director of Program Development
District Attorney's Office
303 W. Colfax Avenue, No. 1300
Denver, Colorado 80204

Created to aid survivors and families of victims while in Denver, the Colorado/Oklahoma Resource Council (CORC) exemplified the positive force of collaboration. The CORC secured lodging near the federal courthouse, arranged local transportation and ensured availability of medical and mental health services. It provided a safe haven near the courthouse, offering victims a secure, protected and supportive environment. In addition, the CORC's "Line Holders" relieved victims from standing in line to secure limited courtroom seating.

The Reverend Tracy Evans
1001 N.W. 25th, #206
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106

For the victims and survivors unable to travel to Denver for the trials, the Oklahoma City Safe Haven Committee ensured the accessibility of trial proceedings. Safe Haven provided closed-circuit broadcast of the trials in a supportive atmosphere where shuttle services, counseling, refreshments and an information center for trial transcripts and witness summaries were available. The centers opened with jury selection in the McVeigh trial on March 31, 1997, and remained in service for the duration of both trials. More than 300 volunteers helped serve nearly 1,000 victims and survivors.


Lynn Anderson, Assistant United States Attorney
Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma
210 W. Park Avenue, Suite 400
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102

The Victim/Witness Assistance Unit of the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma devoted its efforts to ensuring that victims, relatives and survivors would have access to the trials, whether in person or through the closed-circuit broadcasts. Among its activities were the securing of a large facility in Oklahoma City for viewing the closed-circuit broadcasts; organization of victim attendance at the trials, including arrangements for travel; training of volunteers to staff the Oklahoma City safe haven; assistance in ensuring the safety of those attending the trial; obtaining of medical care; coordination of shuttle and food services; and provision of emotional support.


Mary Anne Castellano, Victim/Witness Specialist
Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Colorado
1961 Stout Street, 13th Floor
Denver, Colorado 80294

The Oklahoma Bombing Victim/Witness Center offered much-needed sensitivity and compassion to the 135 survivors, family members of victims and rescue workers who appeared as witnesses at both trials. Comprised of victim/witness specialists from six United States Attorney's offices, the Center familiarized itself with the background of each victim and witness in an effort to understand their unique needs, helped those called to testify to make sense of the judicial process, acted as a conduit to victim services, and advocated for victims and survivors when they encountered problems with employers.

Amy Bourgeron, Director
1437 Bannock, Room 379
Denver, Colorado 80202

The Denver Media Logistics/Consortium demonstrated victim-sensitive news coverage, as it remained aware and respectful of the emotional needs of victims and survivors throughout the trials. Begun as a partnership between victim advocates and the press, the Consortium quickly became a self-generating committee of 72 news organizations that sought to ensure compassionate treatment of victims and survivors in the media, while at the same time maintaining the integrity and accuracy of information. Due to the exceptional scrutiny given to the trials and the great potential for media exploitation, the efforts of Consortium members merit sincere gratitude.


Patrick Ryan, United States Attorney
Office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma
210 W. Park Avenue, Suite 400
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102

The Oklahoma City Bombing Prosecution Team set a new standard for the sensitive and inclusive treatment of victims in court. By requiring that members meet with each of 168 families of the deceased and with the injured survivors, the team demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that the impetus for serving justice in the trials would be the needs of the victims themselves. Through the creation of a victim database for the approximately 3,000 family members and survivors, the installation of a toll-free number through which victims could obtain needed assistance and by the convening of regular group meetings with victims, it was able to communicate rapidly and efficiently to those needing information. Working seven days a week, 12 or more hours per day for over two years, the team viewed its mission as a responsibility to victims above all else.

OVC is the Federal Government's chief advocate for crime victims and their families. OVC administers two grant programs for states to expand victim compensation and assistance programs, as well as other grants to support innovative programs benefiting crime victims. It also sponsors training to help criminal justice officials and others better meet the needs of crime victims and their families.

OVC's activities are financed by the Crime Victims Fund in the U.S. Treasury. The Fund receives deposits each fiscal year—not from taxpayers—but from fines and penalty assessments from convicted federal criminals.

To learn more about OVC, its programs and resources, see the Web site at or the OJP home page at Or, call the OVC Resource Center at 800–627–6872.

Report to Congress Report to Congress December 1999                                           OVCOffice for Victims of Crime

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