Justice Department Honors Texas Program For Sexual Assault Victims

Apr 23, 2013, 20:35 ET from Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

AUSTIN, Texas, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice will recognize the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) for outstanding advocacy and innovative programming on behalf of sexual assault victims.  Attorney General Eric Holder will present the program with an award during the National Crime Victims' Rights Week awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

"These committed individuals are being honored for their dedication to assisting and supporting victims of crime all across the country," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "Their actions inspire all Americans, to do what we can, each in our own way, to help lessen the physical, emotional and financial impacts of crime on people in our communities."

TAASA will receive the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award for supporting legislation favorable to victims and advocates, which increased funding for sexual assault programs at both the federal and state levels. 

In 2007, TAASA successfully advocated to fund sexual assault services through a $5 customer fee at strip clubs that permit the sale or consumption of alcohol.   The first $25 million raised over a two-year period was directed toward sexual assault services. 

In 2011, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the $5 fee and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to challenge the decision.  TAASA's bold action in pushing this public policy laid the groundwork for other states and advanced Texas closer to the goal of a sustainable source of funding for rape crisis centers and support for sexual assault survivors in their recovery.

In addition to TAASA, Attorney General Holder will recognize 12 other individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims.  Descriptive narratives and videos of the contributions of all recipients are available at the Office for Victims of Crime's Gallery: https://ovcncvrw.ncjrs.gov/Awards/AwardGallery/gallerysearch.html.

President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims' Rights Week in 1981, calling for renewed emphasis on, and sensitivity to, the rights of victims.  National Crime Victims' Rights Week will be observed this year from April 21-27.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), 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. For more information about OJP, please visit: www.ojp.gov.   

SOURCE Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs