Victims' Rights Caucus

Press Releases

Congressional Victims Rights Caucus

Holds Annual Award Ceremony

VRC Co-Chairs Reps. Poe & Costa Honor Victim Advocates


WASHINGTON, DC Co-Chairs Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) will join members of the bipartisan Congressional Victims Rights Caucus to honor this years outstanding individuals that have given of their time and service to helping victims. 

WHEN:          Wednesday, April 6, 2011

                        6:00 8:00pm EST


WHERE:       122 Cannon House Office Building

                        Washington, DC


The 2011 Victims Rights Caucus Recipients:


Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award

Helga Luest, Founder/President & CEO, Witness Justice

Helga Luest serves as the Founder, President and CEO of Witness Justice, a national non-profit organization that addresses the gaps in programs that survivors rely on to seek justice and experience healing.   She promotes the right to live trauma free following acts of violence.  Her knowledge of trauma and its direct impact on the well being of the individual is the core of her advocacy work.  Helga Luest exemplifies the Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award as she has used her experiences as a crime victim and a survivor to promote public awareness, public education and policy development. 


Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy

Pam Kallsen, Executive Director, The Marjaree Mason Center

Pam Kallsen has presided over the Marjaree Mason Center in Fresno, CA during a time of great need and great growth.  As the preeminent domestic violence shelter in Californias Central Valley, Marjaree Mason has served hundreds of clients, going beyond traditional services and providing legal representation, hotline services, and counseling sessions.  Earlier this year, Pam Kallsen was instrumental in securing city approval and leveraging private funding for a new Marjaree Mason extension facility in adjacent Clovis, CA.  Successfully launching self-sufficiency programs, building relationships with the community she serves, and weathering turbulent economic downturn, Pam Kallsens leadership of the Marjaree Mason Center exemplifies the spirit of the Ed Stout Memorial for Outstanding Victim Advocacy. 


Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy

Mary Ellen Stone, Executive Director, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

Mary Ellen Stone has served as Executive Director of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) since 1979.  Through her vision and passion she has helped transform the legal and political landscape of sexual assault violence in Washington State and throughout the nation.  Under the leadership of Mary Ellen, KCSARC has grown to be the largest sexual assault victims service organization in the state; making a positive difference in the lives of thousands of children, women, men, parents and families who previously had nowhere to turn when their lives were affected by sexual assault.  Mary Ellen was involved with some of the first rape crisis centers in the country dating back to the early 1970s when very little was available to victims and victi