WASHINGTON, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorney General Eric Holder recognized two survivors with the Special Courage Award today at the 2012 annual victims' service awards ceremony, a prelude to the nation's observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 22-28, 2012.
"This year's 12 awardees have touched, improved and even saved lives. Perhaps most impressively, many of today's award recipients have achieved these results by transforming their own experiences into a positive force for sweeping change," said Attorney General Holder. "Every one of them deserves the commendation that is being bestowed today – not only for their remarkable contributions in responding to protecting and defending crime victims and their loved ones but also for the examples they have set for others to follow."
In August 2008, on the streets of Washington, D.C., Julia Dunkins heard gunshots and witnessed the shooting of two young brothers, one fatally. Dunkins immediately called 911 and supported Justin Fennell, the survivor, until emergency crews arrived. Dunkins, now an advocate supporting survivors of homicide, is an active member of the District of Columbia Homicide Coalition and creator of Survivors of Homicide.
Fennell was also recognized for his courage and perseverance as a victim and survivor who brought the murderer of his brother to justice. Both individuals received the Special Courage Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of a crime or who performed a courageous act on behalf of a crime victim.
In addition to Dunkins and Fennell, Attorney General Holder recognized the efforts of eleven other recipients for their extraordinary efforts in the aftermath of a crime, as well as their professional efforts to better serve the needs of victims with disabilities; for assisting U.S. citizens victimized outside the United States; and for ensuring victims receive compensation and other services at the state and local level.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Justice Programs