During the month of April Child Abuse Prevention Month and in commemoration of National Crime Victims Rights Week (April 10-16), U.S. Congressman Ted Poe continues to work passionately on behalf of victims on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and beyond. Since taking office in January, he has assumed a critical leadership role on issues affecting crime victims and those who serve them nationwide.

Within one month of being sworn-in as the U.S. Representative for Texas 2nd Congressional District, Congressman Poe founded and assumed co-chairmanship of the first-ever Congressional Victims Rights Caucus, which aims to cultivate a forum for legislators to discuss the rights and concerns of victims. Through this Caucus and various initiatives, he has already spearheaded a movement to protect the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) - Crime Victims Fund that was established to pay for victim services and victim compensation.

Under the proposed Budget, the over $1.2 billion currently housed in the Crime Victims Fund is in grave danger of rescission. Established in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, the Fund is comprised solely of fines and fees derived from convicted federal offenders not from taxpayers dollars a tenet Congressman Poe believes is vital for offender accountability. All fourteen national victim assistance programs have united to oppose this rescission and are working closely with Congressman Poe and the Caucus.

Congressman Poe has repeatedly explained his concern about this serious issue, which was also highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article on Thursday, March 31, 2005.

For over 22 years as a felony court judge, I witnessed first-hand the plight of crime victims and their healing process, which often began with participating in the judicial proceedings and continued as they received counseling and other services to aid in their recovery, Rep. Poe said.

In creating the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus and seeking support from my fellow Members of Congress to oppose the liquidation of the Crime Victims Fund, I hope to bring desperately needed relief to victims a contingent that is often grossly under-represented. I would like to help ensure that the over 4,400 programs that receive these funds are not forced to close their doors or scale back the essential services for victims of crime that they deliver, he concluded.

National victim advocate and Senior Advisor to the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Justice Solutions, Anne Seymour, salutes Congressman Poe for his efforts.

I first met Judge Ted Poe in 1986 as a victim advocate on a horrible case involving a serial rapist. He has been, without a doubt, one of Americas leading criminal justice officials who sought balance in our criminal justice system, and always paid attention to the needs and concerns of crime victims, Seymour said.

His leadership in establishing the first-ever Victim's Rights Caucus in the United States Congress and opposing the rescission of the Crime Victims Fund are just two of many actions he has taken over the past two decades to recognize crime victims rights and needs, she concluded.

Moreover, U.S. Representative Ted Poe last month sponsored and introduced legislation H.R. 1355, the Child Predator Act of 2005 to safeguard children from child predators by arming parents and law enforcement with additional tools. The Child Predator Act aims to close the loopholes in current law that allow sexual offenders to slip through the cracks when they relocate from state to state by requiring registration within 10 days of a move as well as community notification, tightening the consequences for non-compliance, and mandating a free internet accessible database that clearly designates child predators (as defined by the bill) those individuals who commit a sexual offense against a minor age 13 or younger.