FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OJP
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 1988 202-724-7694
Contact: Kathy Baranski
President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation designating April 17-23 as Crime Victims Week 1988. Attorney General Edwin Meese III joined President Reagan in honoring six individuals who have made outstanding contributions in assisting victims of violent crime. The President and the Attorney General kicked off National Crime Victims Week in a White House ceremony at 3:45 p.m. today.
The honorees included:
Clementine Barfield of Detroit, Michigan. Mrs. Barfield founded SOSAD (save Our Sons and Daughters) after the murder of her son in 1986. The organization has since prospered in its mission to aid victims of crime and other young people. Since its inception, SOSAD has aided mothers and families of victims in starting their own groups to save their sons and daughters. SOSAD operates a 24-hour hotline for families of victims that need advise and support. It also operates a youth leadership training program which brings together young people and volunteer police officers, and conducts rallies to encourage youth to avoid trouble. SOSAD actively lobbies local and national public officials to focus attention on crime and its innocent victims. As SOSAD's leader and motivational force, Clementine Barfield's goal for the organization is to broaden its base to help prevent violence and compassionately serve those victimized by crime in cities across the country. Clementine Barfield has risen above personal tragedy to become a model of determined activism and outstanding citizenship.
Frank Barnaba of Westbrook, Connecticut. Frank Barnaba established Paul & Lisa, Inc. in 1980 to aid child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. The organization is named in part after a Connecticut teenager, Lisa, who's death at the hands of the sex industry propelled Mr. Barnaba to action. Paul & Lisa's objectives reveal very practical approaches to street rescue, prevention, counseling/ referral, and rehabilitation. Mr. Barnaba has literally risked his life in his efforts to get young people off the streets and away from prostitution, pornography and drugs. Many of these young adults are often held captive, both physically and psychologically, by the violence and hostility of street life that threatens their lives constantly. Prevention program volunteers, often including former victims of exploitation on the street, take their message into the schools and to the public. Many young people with whom the volunteers come into contact are brought to stark realizations about the tragic realities of life on the streets as a result of these meetings, thereby fostering prevention. A victim of abuse himself, Mr. Barnaba is attuned to the special needs of these victims, who range in age from young children to adults in their twenties. The long term goal of Paul & Lisa is to open a treatment center to address the unique problems of sexually abused and exploited children. At present, Mr. Barnaba has been known to welcome these troubled individuals into his own home in his selfless effort to rehabilitate them, demonstrating his heartfelt devotion to the cause of child victims.
Col. Earl Pruitt of Louisville, Kentucky. Citizens and Victims for Justice Reform is a. grass-roots organization which was founded in 1984 by a group of citizens who, frustrated by the treatment of crime victims in their community, wanted to improve their criminal justice system. Several of these individuals were survivors of victimized loved ones, including Col. Earl Pruitt, a founding Board Member, who will be representing the organization." Citizens and Victims for Justice Reform has been a motivational force behind passage of legislation to aid victims of crime in Kentucky, including the Crime Victim's Bill of Rights and the Truth in Sentencing Bill. In addition, the organization provides many services for victims of crime and their families. These activities include offering support during trials of offenders, sharing experiences and research with other groups and individuals, a Courtwatch Program for sentence monitoring, educational programs and referral services. Citizens and Victims for Justice Reform is a powerful example of activism and achievement, and of turning personal adversity into progress for all citizens.
Kenneth Eikenberry of Olympia, Washington. Kenneth Eikenberry was elected Attorney General of Washington state in 1980. He has had a distinguished career in government and the criminal justice system, including service in Washington's House of Representatives and as a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, while simultaneously promoting victims rights. Attorney General Eikenberry was instrumental in securing passage of Washington's Victim's Bill of Rights, and in convincing media Representatives to be more compassionate in their treatment of victims in the press. In 1982, he was appointed to the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime. Attorney General Eikenberry's outstanding contributions to the work of the Task Force are typified by inclusion of a recommendation to enact a Constitutional Amendment, which would give victims a right to be present and heard at all critical stages of judicial proceedings, in its final report. He has continued to actively promote this idea throughout the nation and in his home state of Washington. Attorney General Eikenberry is an outstanding example of the active and significant role government leaders can have in improving the plight of citizens victimized by crime.
Jan Emmerich of Phoenix, Arizona. Jan Emmerich is the LECC/ Victim Witness Coordinator in the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona. Her work in developing an effective victim witness program has earned her national acclaim and respect and has contributed greatly to improved prosecution and better victim protection. She has truly charted innovative directions in redressing the tremendous needs of victims of federal crime. Mrs. Emmerich has structured a model program which has made a special effort to serve Indian reservations in addition to meeting the needs of other victims of violent crime. Her work with Indian victims is most notable as she has assisted them in obtaining counseling services and state compensation. Through her determination and creativity, Mrs. Emmerich has helped rebuild the shattered lives of many, many Federal crime victims. Jan Emmerich is an outstanding leader in the victims rights movement and serves as a wonderful example of the potential for accomplishment in aiding innocent victims of crime at the federal level of government.
Sara O'Meara of Woodland Hills, California. Sara O'Meara is Co-founder and Chairman of CHILDHELP USA/International, and a national leader in the field of child abuse prevention, treatment and research. CHILDHELP USA is the largest private, non-profit organization in the country aiding victims of child abuse. The organization, under Mrs. O'Meara's vivacious direction, has instituted a number of innovative programs to assist the special needs of child victims. These activities include the Village of CHILDHELP USA, a Comprehensive Long-term Residential Treatment Program and Aftercare; a national toll-free child abuse hotline, staffed by crisis counselors and volunteer professionals, that responds to over 140,000 calls per year; and development of national research and professional training programs focusing primarily on prevention. Mrs. O'Meara is also Vice Chairman of the International Alliance on Child Abuse and Neglect, which allows professionals throughout the world to share their expertise. Sara O'Meara has been a dynamic and influential source of aid to child victims of crime, and an outstanding leader in her profession.
President Reagan and the Attorney General continue to provide national leadership to redress the imbalance in the scales of justice of crime victims. The President stated in his 1988 Message to Congress that, "My Administration has put into effect a number of the Task Force [on Victims of Crime] recommendations. The most important of these has been the development of model legislation mandating the protection and fair treatment of crime victims, which by 1986 had become the basis for legislative action in nearly two-thirds of the States. I am directing the Attorney General to press forward on the remaining Task Force recommendations."
Several accomplishments are noteworthy regarding Victims of Crime:
1) Since its inception in 1984, the Crime Victims Fund has collected over $208 million in Federal criminal fines and penalties which has been redirected to victims assistance and compensation programs operated by the Federal and state governments. These federal funds, entirely from criminals, not law abiding taxpayers, have enabled States to expand and improve their victim assistance and compensation programs.
(2) A public awareness of the plight of crime victims has dramatically increased. Forty-five states now operate victim compensation programs; all States operate victim assistance programs; most States have enacted a victims Bill of Rights, ensuring fair treatment of crime victims in the criminal justice system; and, victim/witness assistance guidelines for the treatment of crime victims is being implemented by Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials.
(3) A national Victims Resource Center was established to create an inventory of programs for and research concerning crime victims. The Center disseminates this information upon request to Victims, law enforcement, health professionals, and the public.