Attorney General Eric Holder today honored award recipients as part of the 29th observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), April 22-28. This year’s theme, “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” highlights the importance of ensuring services and support to all victims, their families and communities as they heal and seek a successful future. National Crime Victims’ Service Awards honor those working on behalf of crime victims who have earned the esteem of their colleagues in the victim service and criminal justice fields.
“This year’s 12 awardees have touched, improved and even saved lives. Perhaps most impressively, many of today’s award recipients have achieved these results by transforming their own experiences into a positive force for sweeping change,” said Attorney General Holder. “Every one of them deserves the commendation that is being bestowed today – not only for their remarkable contributions in responding to protecting and defending crime victims and their loved ones but also for the examples they have set for others to follow.”
Among those honored today is Hollywood icon Mickey Rooney, who in March 2011, testified before the U.S. Senate at a hearing entitled, “Justice for All: Ending Elder Abuse, Neglect and Financial Exploitation” regarding his emotional, verbal and financial abuse at the hands of his stepchildren. Also honored is Julia Dunkins who turned her own personal tragedy into support for survivors of homicide.
The awards and their recipients, who are nominated by their colleagues and approved by the Attorney General, are:
Allied Professional Award: Recognizes an individual or organization outside the victim assistance field for services or contributions to the victims’ field. Recipient: Dr. Dora Schriro, East Elmhurst, N.Y.; Commissioner, New York City Department of Correction.
Crime Victims Financial Restoration Award: Recognizes individuals, programs, organizations or teams that have developed innovative ways of funding services for crime victims or have instituted innovative approaches for securing financial restoration for crime victims. Recipients: Maricopa County Adult Probation Department’s Financial Compliance Program, (FINCOM) Scottsdale, Ariz. Accepting the award on behalf of FINCOM are Michael Cimino, Barbara Broderick, Stephen Hartley and Kendra Neal. Also receiving the Financial Restoration Award is Wingate Grant, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond, Va.
Federal Service Award: Honors exceptional contributions and extraordinary impact on behalf of victims in Indian Country, on military installations, in national parks or other areas governed by federal jurisdiction. Recipients: Roi Holt, Victim Assistance Coordinator, Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. and Michelle Scott, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina, Raleigh, N.C.
National Crime Victim Service Award: Honors extraordinary efforts in direct service to crime victims. Recipients: Dr. Linda Ledray, Director, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner – Sexual Assault Rape Team (SANE-SART) Resource Service, Minneapolis; Victoria Cruz, Senior Domestic Violence Counselor/Advocate, Anti-Violence Project, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and the Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), New York, N.Y. Accepting the award on behalf of GEMS is Rachel Lloyd.
Professional Innovation in Victim Service Award: Recognizes the development of effective methods for expanding the reach of victims’ rights and services. Recipient: Common Justice, Brooklyn, N.Y. Accepting the award on behalf of the organization are Danielle Sered and Shameeka Mattis.
Special Courage Award: Recognizes extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or courageous act on behalf of a victim or potential victim. Recipients: Actor Mickey Rooney, Alhambra, Calif. Accepting on behalf of Mr. Rooney is Bruce Ross. Other award recipients are Julia Dunkins, Executive Director of Survivors of Homicide, Inc. and Justin Fennell, a crime victim and survivor, both from Washington, D.C.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) organized the awards presentation. The Attorney General was joined by Acting Assistant General for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary and Acting Director for the Office of Victims of Crime Joye Frost at the award ceremony. Descriptive narratives of the contributions of all recipients are available at OVC’s Gallery.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov