Co-Chairs Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA)joined members of the bipartisan Congressional Victims Rights Caucus to honor this years outstanding individuals that have given their time and service to helping victims at a special ceremony held in their honor.
The 2008 Victims Rights Caucus Recipients:
(1) Suzanne McDaniel Public Awareness Award Jamie Leigh Jones for her efforts in raising national awareness of the plight of American contractors victimized abroad. By creating the Jamie Leigh Foundation, Jamie Leigh provided a voice for other victims and enabled other victims to find strength and comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
- This is the first year that the former Public Awareness Award will be entitled the Suzanne McDaniel Public Awareness Award. Suzanne McDaniel is one of the first prosecutor-based victim advocates in Texas and the nation. She has advocated for crime victims at the local, state, and federal levels. She created Harris Countys first community interagency councils on sexual assault and family violence and the first rape exam protocol for Houston Hospital and Medical Associations. She created the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse, the first statewide resource in the nation. She also helped draft and pass the Texas Crime Victim Bill of Rights, the Texas Crime Victims Compensation Act, and the Texas Constitutional Amendment on Crime Victim Rights.
(2) Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy Jim Rowland, who completely changed the way the judicial system perceives and treats crime victims. He is known as the father of the victim impact statement, which is now instituted in every state and which refocused the courts attention on the human cost of crime. In 1976, this was a revolutionary idea. It allowed written or oral information to be presented about the impact of the crime on the victim and the victims family. These statements allow the court to refocus its attention on the human cost of the crime and provides a way for the victim to participate in the criminal justice process. Because of his efforts, crime victims received the consideration, fairness, and support that they were lacking.
(3) Allied Profession Award Sheriff Michael Jackson, Prince Georges County, Maryland. Under his leadership, domestic violence cases are now a priority in Prince Georges County. By creating the Domestic Violence/Community Services Unit, he implemented a unique and comprehensive approach to victim services and protection. He also created the first 24 hour - 7 days a week Domestic Violence Intervention Unit, the first civilian Domestic Violence Intervention/Community Services Unit, and the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate Unit, which demonstrate his unparalleled and remarkable commitment to crime victims.
(4) Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award Laurie Dishman, who was sexually assaulted on a cruise ship. Since this tragedy, Laurie has fought to ensure justice for other cruise ship victims. Shes provided a voice and support network for other cruise ship victims.
(5) Lois Haight Award of Excellence and Innovation Gloria Sandoval for her work as the leader and initiator of innovative programs such as Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence, and Safe 4 US. Glorias contributions changed the way state government agencies address the needs of crime victims. (Ms. Sandoval will not be present at the awards ceremony.)
The Victims Rights Caucus is a bipartisan caucus which advocates and provides a voice for all victims of crime, as well as law enforcement, in Congress. The Caucus was established by Congressman Poe in 2005 and has 32 bipartisan Members. For more information on the VRC, please visit our website at http://poe.house.gov/vrc/index.htm.