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Press Release

National Leader on Crime Victims’ Rights to Address April Ceremony Honoring Victims and Advocates

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – The executive director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute in Portland, Ore., will be the keynote speaker at a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week recognition ceremony on April 6 presented by One Place Metro Alabama Family Justice Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey.

The Northern District of Alabama U.S. Attorney’s Office and One Place in Birmingham have joined to present “Strength, Resilience & Justice: A Recognition Ceremony Honoring Victims of Crime and Seekers of Justice.” One Place is a collaboration between the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the City of Birmingham and Birmingham Police Department, the YWCA-Central Alabama and the Crisis Center Inc. Its mission is to provide coordinated services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals working together under one roof.

The April ceremony’s guest speaker, Meg Garvin, directs the National Crime Victim Law Institute and is a clinical professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School, where the institute is located.

Garvin is recognized as a leading expert on victims’ rights. She has testified before Congress, state legislatures, and the Judicial Proceedings Panel on Sexual Assault in the Military. In 2014, she was appointed to the Victims Advisory Group of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and, during 2013-2014, Garvin served on the Victim Services Subcommittee of the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crime Panel of the U.S. Department of Defense.

During the recognition ceremony, sponsors will present awards to a victim advocate, a member of law enforcement and a prosecutor, each chosen for their commitment to assisting victims of crime.

Along with the address from Garvin, there will be a multi-disciplinary panel discussion featuring Ashley Smith, now a teenager, who at 14 months old nearly died from third-degree burns over 30 percent of her body after her mother put her in a broiling oven in their Etowah County home in 2002. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles last year denied early release for the mother, Melissa Wright, after a hearing that included horrific photos of the burned infant. Smith appealed to the board not to grant her mother parole, but Smith’s older sister argued for the early release, saying her mother was suffering from mental illness at the time and is a “changed woman.”

The National Crime Victims’ Rights Week recognition ceremony will be 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Thursday, April 6, with breakfast provided, in the Diamonds Direct Ballroom at Regions Field, 1401 First Ave. South. The event is free, but space is limited. RSVPs are required to

This project is supported by a National Crime Victims' Rights Week Community Awareness Project sub-grant awarded by the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators under a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.



Updated March 21, 2017