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April 26, 2007
The Attorney General's Victim Services Awards of Distinction recognize the dedication and creativity of victim services professionals and volunteers, as well as victims and others affected by violent crime who have raised the profile of victims' issues in their communities.
On December 5, 2006, Attorney General Michael Bryant announced that the McGuinty government was establishing these new awards, to recognize outstanding achievements by those who provide victim services, at the Victim Summit. The awards are a “first” in Ontario. Until now, no broad-based provincial program has existed to recognize those who support victims of crime.
There are five categories of award recipients. Recipients can be individuals or groups in Ontario, and can be nominated by any person or organization in the province.
Nominations were reviewed by a panel consisting of a member each from the victim services community, Ministry of the Attorney General staff and the Office for Victims of Crime. The Office for Victims of Crime offers advice to the Attorney General on ways to ensure that the principles set out in the Victims' Bill of Rights are respected.
The recipients of the Victim Services Awards of Distinction are:
Since losing her 15-year-old son to an act of senseless violence in 2003, Ali has committed herself to raising the profile of victims' issues in Ontario. She set up the Terrence Ali Foundation after her son's death and has offered guidance to victims and their families as they connect with the justice system. Her public speaking engagements have inspired victims, law enforcement personnel and others to help ensure victims are treated with respect and dignity. She has also worked diligently within the justice system to help ensure that those responsible for violent acts are held accountable to victims, their families and the community and society at large.
This award honours victims and other individuals personally impacted by crime.
Co-founder and current program co-ordinator for support and court preparations services provided by the Child Witness Centre for Waterloo Region and Wellington County, Jo-Anne Hughes has devoted her career to child victims. She designed and developed this child witness program, which is today viewed as unique and vital by organizations in the justice system and social service agencies across Ontario.
This award honours service providers.
Rick Goodwin is the executive director of The Men's Project in Ottawa, an innovative treatment program for male survivors of sexual abuse. The project also reaches out to communities across Ontario, providing training and education to agencies that help victims, to address the issues of sexual assault and sexual abuse of boys, male youth and men.
This award honours field practitioners.
A businessman and father who volunteers with victim services of York Region, Brian Weller provides an exceptional role model to people in his community. He devotes his personal time to the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services program, which provides on-site, immediate assistance to victims in the aftermath of crime.
This award honours volunteers.
Lynn Zammit has worked to develop and implement the school-based Choices for Youth Program and a restorative justice initiative that offers extensive training to school board staff and police in using the conferencing process to support victims of school violence and bullying in Waterloo Region. Restorative justice is a community-based response to crime that holds an offender accountable and provides an opportunity to redress the harm caused in a way that is meaningful for the victim.
This award honours volunteers or professional service providers.
For further information about the Attorney General's Victim Services Awards of Distinction, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General website at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca.