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Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center

2006 Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center | Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services
Team Members: Vincent Roper; Scott Beard; Russell P. Butler
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

The Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center, Inc., (MCVRC) was founded by Roberta and Vincent Roper in 1982 in memory of their slain daughter, Stephanie, to provide direct support services and advocacy for victims' rights. MCVRC's history of service and achievement distinguish it as one of the Nation's most effective organizations for crime victims. 

In addition to its basic support and advocacy services, MCVRC recognized that legal assistance was an important and emerging issue for many crime victims. Consequently, ensuring that victims' rights were fully protected and enforced became a major priority for both victims and victim service providers. 

MCVRC launched the groundbreaking Crime Victim Legal Advocacy Program in 1998. For the first time, MCVRC recruited and trained private attorneys to begin a collaborative partnership providing pro bono legal services to help crime victims in criminal matters. 

Today, this program continues to provide information and legal representation to resolve the many complex legal needs of impoverished crime victims. As a result, crime victims benefit and private attorneys discover new and resourceful ways to help those suffering the effects of crime. 

MCVRC also began another innovative initiative—the Maryland Compliance Project—in which it partnered with the Maryland State Board of Victim Services in the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to work toward achieving full compliance with Maryland's existing victims' rights laws. MCVRC and the State Board in the Governor's Office restored hope to many victims and created a successful model for the Nation. 

Among MCVRC's most recent initiatives is the Crime Victim Law Institute (the Clinic), one of five original sites around the country that ensures that crime victims have independent legal representation throughout the criminal justice process. To date, the Clinic has powerfully demonstrated the benefit of having attorneys help victims obtain their legal rights. 

MCVRC is completing year three of an OVC-funded Collaborative Response to Crime Victims in Urban Areas project that seeks to address all crime victims' issues, including their often neglected spiritual needs. Finally, MCVRC was selected to administer the Helping Outreach Programs to Expand II (HOPE II) grant program that will provide new opportunities to 48 faith-based and community service providers across America to better meet the needs of crime victims. 

MCVRC was nominated by Arizona Senator Jon Kyl.