Justice Dept. Honors Travis County Sheriff's Volunteer Program
|WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Justice
recognized the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit Volunteer
Program with the Volunteer for Victims Award. This honor is awarded to
individuals or programs that provide extraordinary service to crime victims
without compensation. The program was honored during the annual National Crime
Victims’ Service Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“The women and men of the Victim Services Unit cater to the specific needs of
area victims, including through on-scene services, continuing education, and
expanded access to legal assistance,” Attorney General Sessions said. “Their
innovative model – which relies on both professional and volunteer support – is
an inspiration, and I applaud them for their critical work on behalf of crime
survivors in and around Travis County.”
The Travis County Sheriff's Office Victim Services Unit was established in
1984, prior to state mandates requiring crime victim liaisons within law
enforcement agencies. The unit is composed of a Victim Services Director, a
Social Services Program Coordinator, and six Victim Service Specialists.
These trained volunteers provide an immediate response and support to victims
of various criminal and crisis circumstances. Volunteers help victims establish
their personal safety, secure access to community services, and apply for
“Without compensation, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit
volunteers provide assistance and services to victims 24 hours a day, 365 days
a year,” said Director of the Office for Victims of Crime Darlene Hutchinson.
“The Department of Justice is proud to honor them for their remarkable
contributions and for their commitment to justice for all individuals
victimized by crime.”
During today’s ceremony, the Justice Department recognized a dozen individuals
and organizations for their outstanding efforts on behalf of victims of crime.
Awardees were selected from public nominations in ten categories.
Each year in April, the Department of Justice observes National Crime Victims’
Rights Week by taking time to honor victims of crime and those who advocate on
their behalf. In addition, the Justice Department and U.S. Attorney’s Offices
organize events to honor the victims and advocates, as well as bring awareness
to services available to victims of crime. This year’s observance takes place
April 8-14, with the theme Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims.
The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, within the Office of
Justice Programs, leads communities across the country in observing National
Crime Victims’ Rights Week each year. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the
first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in 1981 to bring greater sensitivity
to the needs and rights of victims of crime.
The Office of Justice Programs provides innovative leadership to federal,
state, local, and tribal justice systems, by disseminating state-of-the art
knowledge and practices across America, and providing grants for the
implementation of these crime fighting strategies. Because most of the
responsibility for crime control and prevention falls to law enforcement
officers in states, cities, and neighborhoods, the federal government can be
effective in these areas only to the extent that it can enter into partnerships
with these officers. More information about the Office of Justice Programs and
its components can be found at www.ojp.gov. More information about Crime
Victim’s Rights Week can be found at https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/.
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