Victims' Rights Caucus



Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chairman from Virginia for leading this resolution, but also I do want to thank my friend from California, Mr. Costa, for not only sponsoring this legislation, but for his hard work nationally on victims' rights and the movement. He literally started the victims' rights movement in California, the State that we owe a lot to for the victims' right movement when he was in the State legislature there in California, and he has brought his passion to help victims of crime to the United States Congress, and we are all better for that.

Last week in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, the Victim's Rights Caucus, as Mr. Costa mentioned, had several preliminary events. One was the fourth annual Victim's Rights Caucus awards ceremony.

At the awards ceremony last Wednesday night, Mr. Costa and myself joined other Members of the House, Mr. Shadegg from Arizona, Mr. Yarmuth from Kentucky and Mr. Reichert from Washington in honoring six outstanding victim advocates and victim programs.

Mr. Speaker, I include for the Record the names and the awards of these six recipients.

2009 Victims' Rights Caucus Awards Recipients

(1) Suzanne McDaniel Public Awareness Award--Katherine Cabaniss. Ms. Cabaniss is the Executive Director of Houston Crime Stoppers. As a former Assistant District Attorney, she has a passion for preventing and fighting crime. During her time with Crime Stoppers, Ms. Cabaniss has built strategic alliances with people and organizations who assist victims of crime, including local school districts, apartment property management companies, and women's shelters. She has strengthened Crime Stoppers relationship with the media, and in doing so, has used her voice to promote safe communities and justice for victims of crime. Cabaniss was nominated by Representative Ted Poe (TX-02).

(2) Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy--Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. The Alliance represents everything that Mr. Stout worked so hard for during his work on behalf of crime victims and survivors. They are a nonprofit, grassroots organization that since 1979 has provided support and services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Kern County and the surrounding area. These services are free, and are bilingual, which serves Kern County's diverse ethnic background. Their strong focus on assisting victims of violence against women in rural areas is remarkable. The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault was nominated by Representative Jim Costa (CA-20).

(3) Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy--Sheryl Cates. Ms. Cates has spent the last 25 years advocating for victims of domestic violence at all levels. As Executive Director at Women's Protective Services in Lubbock, TX, Ms. Cates worked directly with victims as well as supervising staff who provide services to victims. Also, as CEO of the Texas council on Family Violence, National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, Ms. Cates is recognized nationally as an expert in the field of domestic violence and as someone who can be counted on to participate in any efforts to support the needs of victims and their families. Cates was nominated by Representative Lamar Smith (TX-21)

(4) Lois Haight Award of Exce