Chapter 6: Awards for Outstanding
Objective: To recognize extraordinary efforts on behalf of crime victims.
The remarkable growth of the victims field over the past 25 years is due to the vision, action, and leadership of countless individuals and programs whose efforts have improved the lives of crime victims. Each year, the Office for Victims of Crime combs the Nation for people and groups that have made outstanding contributions to the field of crime victims rights and services. These individuals, many of whom are crime victims themselves, serve as role models and a source of inspiration for thousands working in the field. They symbolize the creativity, dedication, and hope that the field embraces. OVC organizes two awards ceremonies each year: the prestigious National Crime Victim Service Awards, the highest federal honor for victim advocacy; and the Crime Victims Fund Award, which recognizes federal employees whose work increases deposits into the Crime Victims Fund, which provides millions of dollars in federal funding for crime victim services. This chapter highlights the 1999 and 2000 recipients of these awards.
OVC organizes the National Crime Victim Service Awards ceremony each year as part of the Federal Governments recognition of National Crime Victims Rights Week. The ceremony honors advocates for their outstanding service on behalf of crime victims. The U.S. Attorney General presided over the ceremonies in 1999 and 2000, and award plaques were signed by both the U.S. Attorney General and the President.
1999 National Crime Victim Service Award Recipients
Trudy Gregories career in victim services spans 20 years, from her work as a local victim assistance provider to her career as a nationally renowned trainer and spokesperson. During her 13 years as director of a prosecutor-based program in Charleston, South Carolina, Ms. Gregorie and her staff assisted more than 60,000 victims. She was a founding member of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network, where she helped to win passage of a number of rights for victims. She went on to become the states first Victim Ombudsman, which she developed into a national model. As Training Director at the National Center for Victims of Crime, Ms. Gregorie developed a comprehensive manual for prosecutor-based victim assistance providers. Her work to improve the response of corrections agencies to victims has been regarded as revolutionary.
Sharon McClain-Boyer has been active in the victims rights movement and violence prevention since the murder of her youngest son, Kevin, in September 1990. In 1992, she was appointed to the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission as a victim representative to reform the states felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile laws. Her leadership helped secure a number of important measures for victims in Ohio. In 1995, Ms. McClain-Boyer became the Administrator of the Ohio Attorney Generals Crime Victim Assistance Division. Under her leadership, Ohio has nearly doubled the number of victim-related grants it gives and was one of the first states in the Nation to implement a computerized statewide victim notification program.
Lieutenant Bill Walsh
Lieutenant Bill Walsh is a 20-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. Throughout his career, he has been involved in many activities that have improved the law enforcement response to victims of child abuse, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence. He started the Child Exploitation Squad, a specialized team of detectives who investigate child sexual exploitation and child abductions. He cofounded the Dallas Childrens Advocacy Center, initiated the first annual Crimes Against Children Conference, and started the first child death review team in Texas. He also initiated the Sex Offender Apprehension Program, a specialized team of detectives created to ensure that registered sex offenders comply with the states sex offender registration law and the terms of their probation and parole.
In 1978, at age 59, Harlie Wilson was shot during an armed robbery and left paralyzed from the waist down. He was hospitalized for almost 6 months after the shooting, and he eventually incurred medical bills totaling more than $800,000. After he was forced to leave the hospital several days early due to an unsettled bill and nearly lost his home, he and his wife Ruth began a grassroots effort that led to the establishment of the North Carolina Victim Compensation Fund. Since that time, he and his wife have been staunch advocates for the right of victims to legal and financial advice and medical and psychological assistance.
Cook County States Attorneys Office Victim-Witness
Established in 1981, the Victim-Witness Assistance Program of the Cook County States Attorneys Office is one of the largest and most comprehensive prosecutor-based victim advocacy programs in the country, serving all victims and witnesses of felony crimes in Chicago and its suburban districts. Each year, 73 specialists serve thousands of victims. The program also includes initiatives targeting underserved populations, such as elderly individuals, people with disabilities, and gays and lesbians. Victim specialists also cofacilitate eight homicide support groups a month, offering services to children, adolescents, adults, and Spanish-speaking survivors.
Korean-American Family Service Center
Established in 1989, the Korean-American Family Service Center (KAFSC) offers support services to Korean-American immigrants in the New York metropolitan area who have been victimized by domestic violence. Drawing on the resources available from New Yorks Korean-American community and relying heavily on the work of volunteers, KAFSC provides one-on-one counseling, 24-hour crisis intervention, court advocacy and interpretation, employment assistance, and other opportunities for healing and empowerment to thousands of domestic violence victims and their children.
Victim Advocates Reaching Out
Victim Advocates Reaching Out (VARO) has provided comprehensive services to crime victims since 1982. VARO offers crisis intervention 24 hours a day to victims of assault, domestic violence, and sexual assault, and survivors of homicide and suicide. Among its services are advocacy, transportation, shelter, emergency financial assistance, provision of clothing and personal care items, and referrals. VARO has been particularly active in reforming Guams response to family violence, participating in the governments Family Violence Task Force and successfully lobbying for a bill to prevent the early release of family violence and sexual assault offenders.
1999 Special Award for Courageous Youth
On February 15, 1997, Amanda Lacey was returning home from a dance sponsored by her high schools chapter of Students Against Drunk Driving when she was hit head-on by a drunk driver. Ms. Lacey, who was president of the chapter, suffered serious injuries and was unable to eat for 2 months. At the time of the award, she had undergone 18 surgical procedures. Ms. Lacey has used her experience as a platform for public safety. She participates in Victim Impact Panels sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), where she speaks before students and parents to warn them of the dangers of drinking and driving, and has given more than 65 presentations.
2000 National Crime Victim Service Award Recipients
Bruce Cook became an active volunteer in the crime victims movement after his stepbrother was murdered in 1977. While serving on the American Correctional Associations Task Force on Victims of Crime from 1987 to 1992, Mr. Cook was commended for his help in formulating 15 national recommendations to improve the rights of crime victims. Due in large part to Mr. Cooks efforts, Georgia passed legislation requiring and implementing victim notification in correctional settings. In the early 1990s, Mr. Cook was instrumental in developing an innovative community restitution program for federal prisoners housed in a minimum security prison. In 1989, Mr. Cook founded the Crime Victims Advocacy Council, which provides free counseling to hundreds of crime victims, particularly homicide survivors. He has served as the councils president, secretary, and advisor.
Casa de los Niños
Casa de los Niños (House of the Children) opened the Nations first crisis nursery for severely abused children in 1973. The organization offers beds to children from birth to 9 years of age who have been physically or sexually abused, criminally neglected, abandoned, or left homeless or who are medically vulnerable. During their time at the nursery, children receive comprehensive medical and dental care 24 hours a day. With the help of the southern Arizona community, Casa de los Niños has sheltered more than 25,000 children. Hundreds of shelters in the United States are modeled after Casa de los Niños, but very few provide the same breadth and depth of services, especially medical care, to the most vulnerable child victims.
In 1985, Wayne Fortin founded Trauma Intervention Programs, Inc. (TIP), a nonprofit organization that serves victims of crime. Under his leadership, TIP has grown from a local victims support program to a national network that serves 75 cities and counties. TIP trains and supervises volunteers who are contacted round-the-clock by police and other emergency personnel to provide emotional and practical support to crime victims. As a result of Mr. Fortins work, numerous crime victims have received on-the-scene support, police departments nationwide have replicated the TIP model, and emergency responders in many locales have benefited from emotional first aid training, which helps them provide compassionate care to victims.
Jacksonville Victim Services Center
The Jacksonville Victim Services Center is the Nations first full-service, one-stop victim services center; it has served more than 20,000 child and adult victims of crime since it opened in 1987. Victims receive assistance with filing compensation claims; counseling (including information on the centers counseling hotline); court advocacy; emergency food, shelter, and transportation; pharmaceuticals; medical referrals; and home security enhancements. The center uses a Sexual Assault Response Team to respond to sexual assault victims and provides free forensic exams. It also runs a radio talk show and hosts a monthly cable television program led by crime victims. The center operates a police academy training program and a 5-week summer youth crime prevention and education program and collaborates with law enforcement to maintain a crisis response team.
Through 22 years of dedicated service, Thomas Alessandro has developed the Witness Aid Services Unit into a comprehensive program addressing the needs of all crime victims who come to the New York County District Attorneys Office. At the same time, he has strived to reach underserved victims in the community. During his tenure as Director of the Witness Aid Services Unit, Mr. Alessandro established a counseling department that offers individual and group therapy and created a child victim specialist position. Mr. Alessandro also directed the development of new technology to increase the efficiency and availability of victim services, including victim notification systems and tracking protection orders.
Helga Azizkhan was thrust into an activists role
when a drunk driver killed her son, a surgical resident at a local hospital,
in 1982. Ms. Azizkhan used the public attention focused on her sons
death to help launch her areas first MADD chapter in a three-county
area of Pennsylvania. Since 1983, she has served several terms as the
MADD chapters president and worked tirelessly throughout Pennsylvania
to raise the states minimum drinking age and make DUI license
2000 Special Award for Innovations in Service to Victims in Indian Country
Round Valley Indian Tribes, STOP Violence Against Indian
Women Margaret Hoaglen, Program Coordinator
The Round Valley Indian Tribes STOP (Services Training Officers Prosecutors) Violence Against Indian Women Program began in May 1998 and has already made an extraordinary impact on the community it serves. Program staff immediately forged partnerships with local agencies, entering into formal memoranda of agreement with the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office and the County Victim Witness Unit. They also completed a draft tribal domestic violence ordinance that has generated open discussion of domestic violence issues. The STOP Violence Against Indian Women Program also works with the local domestic violence shelter and has provided funding to support the shelters program for children, which includes licensed daycare and counseling services.
2000 Special Award for Courageous Response to Hate Crime
Judy and Dennis Shepard
Judy and Dennis Shepard have used the attention generated by the murder of their son, Matthew, as a platform for positive change in the criminal justice systems response to crimes motivated by hate. In October 1998, Matthew, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was lured to a rural road, tied to a fence, beaten unconscious, and left to die. Matthews funeral and the subsequent trials of his killers generated tremendous media interest. The Shepards have used their visibility to draw attention to the Nations growing concern about the prevalence of hate crime, in which thousands of Americans are victimized each year because of their skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
The Family of James Byrd, Jr.
Early in the morning of June 7, 1998, James Byrd, Jr., was walking home along Martin Luther King Boulevard in his hometown of Jasper, Texas, when he was picked up by three white men. He was beaten, chained by his ankles to a pickup truck, and dragged to his death. The crimes brutality sparked national debate on the state of race relations in the United States. The Byrd family, however, spoke out against any attempt to appropriate James death for divisive purposes. In a statement of extraordinary conciliation released soon after his murder, the family said that we as human beings are all interconnected and implored the Nation not to allow James death to be a spark that ignites more hatred, alienation, and retribution.
2000 Special Award for Extraordinary Response to International Terrorism
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
The bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988, claimed the lives of 270 people from 21 countries, including 189 Americans. The tragedy affected not only the family and loved ones of the passengers, but also the residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, the town over which the explosion occurred. Thousands of police, fire officials, military personnel, rescue workers, and citizens responded. The Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary set the standard for the response of law enforcement officials everywhere to mass crises. Officials spent 3 years identifying and cataloging victims human remains and personal belongings and returning them to relatives. Over the years, the police have made visits to the United States to meet with victims families to explain autopsy results and update them on the case.
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Despite their trauma and loss, the citizens of Lockerbie and the region, represented by the Dumfries and Galloway Council, mobilized to aid the families of the Pan Am 103 victims. The council set up a community support office to coordinate volunteer efforts by both private citizens and professionals. The volunteers helped police prepare victims belongings for return to the families, which involved constructing a warehouse to inventory items, washing and ironing articles of victims clothing, drying soggy diaries and letters, and packaging belongings. The council also helped to create the Lockerbie Trust to handle donations coming in from around the world and coordinated a Friendship Group to attend to the needs of bereaved relatives who traveled to Lockerbie to visit the site where their loved ones were found.
The Crime Victims Fund Awards recognize federal employees whose work increased deposits into the Crime Victims Fund and substantially improved federal criminal debt collection. The awards ceremony highlights the importance of federal debt collection efforts and demonstrates how the work of award recipients directly benefits crime victims. The ceremony also raises awareness among federal employees about crime victims rights and services and their important role within the criminal justice system. Each year, OVC coordinates awardee selection and sponsors the awards ceremony. The 1999 and 2000 ceremonies were presided over by the U.S. Attorney General.
1999 Crime Victims Fund Award Recipients (awarded in 2000)
Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Multidistrict Litigation Team: U.S. Attorneys
Offices, Northern District of Georgia, Middle and Southern Districts of
Florida; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Federal Bureau
of Investigation Field Offices, Atlanta, Tampa, and Miami; and the U.S.
Department of Justices Criminal and Civil Divisions
National Medical Care Litigation Team, U.S. Attorneys
Office for the District of Massachusetts
James L. Nelson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Financial
Litigation Unit, U.S. Attorneys Office for the Middle District of
Barbara Wilson, U.S. Probation Officer, U.S. Attorneys
Office for the District of Alaska
Sandy Schmitt and James P. Perdue, U.S. Probation Officers,
U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
Timothy N. Boldt, Case Manager, Federal Correctional
Institution, Sheridan, Oregon, Federal Bureau of Prisons
2000 Crime Victims Fund Award Recipients (awarded in 2001)
Financial Litigation Unit, U.S. Attorneys Office
for the District of Idaho
Financial Litigation Unit, U.S. Attorneys Office
for the District of Maryland
Canella (Connie) Henrichs, Assistant U.S. Attorney,
U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Illinois
Financial Litigation Unit, U.S. Attorneys Office
for the Southern District of Florida
Financial Litigation Unit, U.S. Attorneys Office
for the Western District of Missouri
Eastern District of Wisconsin