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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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U.S. Attorney’s Office Honors Crime Victims,
Good Samaritans and Advocacy Groups at Ceremony Commemorating National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
- U.S. Attorney Machen Cites Courage and Fortitude of Victims, Survivors -

     WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and the members of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office hosted a ceremony today that recognized the strength and perseverance of crime victims, their families, witnesses and advocates, paying tribute to those who have shown remarkable courage and compassion in the pursuit of justice.

     The event, held at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, was part of the annual observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s national theme, “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim,” calls for expanding the vision that inspired the victims’ movement and celebrating the progress achieved so far. The theme also captures the spirit and highlights the need to assist and serve every victim in need of help and hope.

     In addition to U.S. Attorney Machen, the speakers included Yvette Cade, a survivor of domestic violence in Prince George's County. Ms. Cade was attacked in October 2005 in a case that drew national attention. Her estranged husband went to her place of employment, and doused her with gasoline and set her ablaze. The attack took place a few weeks after a judge in Maryland denied her request for a restraining order. Ms. Cade suffered extensive burns to her head, arms and torso, and has undergone numerous surgeries. In the years since the attack, she has shared her remarkable story of courage and survival with audiences across the nation.

     “From the families of homicide victims, to the victims of acts of terrorism, to our most vulnerable child victims, our goal is to ensure that each and every victim is treated with respect, care, and compassion,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We all aspire to help victims seek justice, find hope, and rebuild their lives. In doing this, we ourselves are inspired by the courage and dignity of victims and survivors.”

     Today’s ceremony included awards for several individual victims and witnesses who testified with strength and courage against defendants later convicted of carrying out murders, home invasions and other crimes. It also recognized the families of victims and others who help them, including community activists, non-profits, members of law enforcement, and others.

     The honorees included Samantha Nolan, a member of the Metropolitan Police Department Chief’s Citizens Advisory Council. Ms. Nolan conducts neighborhood watch training and safety presentations throughout the District of Columbia and shares important information with citizens about crime trends in their neighborhoods. Her talks focus on subjects such as everyday ways that people can decrease the likelihood of becoming targets of criminals.

     Another award was given to Derek Staten, a community outreach coordinator for the Metropolitan Police Department who has organized crime prevention programs in the Fourth Police District and other parts of the city. Among other things, Mr. Staten helped organize a mini-day camp called Play Streets that provided social activities for children who otherwise would not have been able to attend a camp. He also helped organize block parties for children, as well as a Safe Haven Halloween Party.

     The program also recognized the assistance provided by the managers and staff at several hotels and motels who work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and others in law enforcement to provide emergency lodging for victims and witnesses.

     In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office honored A Wider Circle, a non-profit organization that helps children and families in need. The organization provides furniture and household items to families, conducts classes on nutrition, child safety and financial management, and provides a wide range of other services to the community.

     Today’s event was developed and organized by the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Members of the Unit provide essential services and support to victims and witnesses, such as making referrals for counseling, addressing safety concerns, assisting with access to Crime Victim Compensation Program funds, and accompanying victims to court proceedings. The Unit also notifies victims of their rights and provides information regarding significant case events, such as the filing of charges, plea hearings, trials and sentencing hearings.

     Further information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is available at





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