U.S. Attorneys' Offices In Iowa Observe National Crime Victims' Rights Week
Contact: Peter Deegan
U.S. Attorneys for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, Sean R. Berry and Nicholas A. Klinefeldt, announced that two individuals will be honored for outstanding service to crime victims in an awards ceremony. The awards will be presented during a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Celebration which will be held on April 25, 2012 at the Jessie Parker Building, 510 E. 12th Street, Des Moines, Iowa, in the Iowa Department of Corrections Office’s Grant Room from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This year’s observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week runs from April 21 to April 27. This year’s theme, “New Challenges. New Solutions,” celebrates the spirit that will advance the progress these heroes achieved. It also captures the spirit and highlights the need for us to assist and serve each and every victim in need of hope and help.
The Continuous Service Award
United States Postal Inspector Tina Nobis will receive the Continuous Service Award, which recognizes a nominee who has provided help to victims for many years. Inspector Nobis has long been noted for her compassionate effort on behalf of hundreds of fraud victims.
The Single Act Award
Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Special Agent Mike Roehrkasse will receive the Single Act Award, which recognizes a nominee who has provided exceptional assistance to crime victims in a specific case. Special Agent Roehrkasse was the lead agent in a case involving two missing Iowa children. Special Agent Roehrkasse, while balancing the investigation of the missing children, provided constant support to the immediate families of the children. He frequently met with the families, at times on a daily basis, to notify them of the progress of the investigation. Special Agent Roehrkasse demonstrated unwavering compassion as he supported the families throughout the investigation.
The Law Enforcement Victim Service Awards are the highest federal honors in the State of Iowa for victim services provided by law enforcement. The awards are presented to law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty through their dedication and efforts to show compassion and caring for victims of crime. The awards are determined by the Federal Law Enforcement Victim Committee of the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa. The committee consists of representatives from federal law enforcement agencies and federal and state victim service agencies.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to assisting victims of federal crimes, ensuring they are afforded their rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, protecting them from further harm, and helping them reshape their futures,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt.
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), enacted in 2004, grants victims in federal criminal proceedings certain enforceable rights, including the right to be reasonably heard at public court proceedings and to receive full and timely restitution as provided by law. The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Northern and Southern District of Iowa have a dedicated Victim Witness staff that serve federal crime victims across state’s 99 counties. The Victim Witness staff sends notices to victims of significant case events through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Victim Notification System (VNS). Such notices enable victims to participate in court proceedings and make their voices heard. According to Department of Justice Statistics, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices provided notice of over 12.2 million case events, including notices regarding criminal charges filed, plea hearings, bond hearings and sentencing hearings.
Notification of significant case events leads to increased victim participation in court proceedings. Court accompaniment helps ensure that victim participation in court proceedings is meaningful as Victim-Witness personnel can answer questions and explain the federal judicial process.
In addition to notification and court accompaniment, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices Victim Witness staff provides essential services to victims, such as making referrals for counseling, securing temporary housing, assisting with access to victim compensation funds, and accompanying victims to court to provide support and guidance during the proceedings. These services provide tools victims need to reshape their futures.
U.S. Attorney Sean Berry said, “This week is a time to raise awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims, the challenges victims face in the recovery process, and the positive impact of those who provide services and support to victims.”
Further information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is available at http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/. Media wishing to attend the award presentation should contact Shari Konarske, at 319-361-0908 to arrange access to the event.