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Kathryn McKay Turman

2005 Federal Service Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Kathryn McKay Turman | Federal Service Award
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office for Victim Assistance, Terrorism Victim Assistance Unit
Washington, DC

For more than 18 years, Kathryn McKay Turman has worked tirelessly on behalf of crime victims. Turman began her distinguished and groundbreaking federal service career in 1987 as Special Assistant to the late U.S. Senator John Heinz. 

From 1991 to 1993, she served as Director of the Justice Department's Missing and Exploited Children's Program. From 1994 to 1998, she was Chief of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. As head of that unit, she oversaw services to approximately 10,000 victims a year, ranging from victims of misdemeanor crimes to international terrorism. 

Turman pioneered the development of services and support to victims of terrorism while serving as Director of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) from 1998 to 2001. She played an active role in the response to the bombings of the U.S.S. Cole and the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. 

In April 1998, the Attorney General charged Turman with developing and managing a project to provide victim assistance to families of Pan Am 103 victims during the trial of two Libyan intelligence agents involved in the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. Lessons learned from these cases led to the creation of a Terrorism and International Victims Unit in OVC. 

Before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Turman established a contract with a crisis management organization that had the capacity to activate a call center within a few hours of notification. The call center was activated on September 11, 2001, with more than 600 telephone counselors available to take information on missing persons. 

A few months later, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller assigned Turman to head the new Terrorism Victim Assistance Unit in the FBI's Office for Victim Assistance and create a terrorism victim assistance program. For the first time in FBI history, victim assistance was incorporated into the FBI's critical incident response plans and the command center structure. 

In 2000, Turman received the Edmund J. Randolph Award from the Attorney General for her leadership on behalf of victims, in 2001, she received the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service, and also in 2001, she was awarded the CIA's National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for her work with the Pan Am 103 victims. 

Kathryn Turman was nominated by OVC.