McGuinty Government Recognizes Outstanding Achievement In Victim Services



    Attorney General Presents Inaugural Victim Services Awards Of Distinction

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government recognized outstanding
achievements in victim services today, as Attorney General Michael Bryant
presented the recipients of the inaugural Victim Services Awards of
Distinction.
    "Recognizing volunteerism for victims is an important moment for victims'
rights. I am pleased to recognize and offer our thanks to these exemplary
volunteers and professionals, who provide high quality and innovative services
to victims of crime every day, and to recognize individuals who have
demonstrated tremendous courage in overcoming personal obstacles to raise the
profile of victims' issues," said Bryant. "These awards are offered as a
tribute to their dedication, creativity, motivation and strength."
    Winners received the awards in a ceremony held at Queen's Park.

    The five award recipients, and the categories for which they were
nominated were:
    
    -  Moonie Ali, of Toronto, for courage and perseverance in raising the
       profile of victim issues in the province of Ontario. This award is
       given to victims and other individuals personally impacted by crime.
    -  Jo-Anne Hughes, of the Child Witness Centre in Waterloo Region and
       Wellington County, for outstanding service to victims of crime in the
       province of Ontario. This award is given to service providers.
    -  Rick Goodwin, of The Men's Project in Ottawa, for developing and
       implementing innovative victim service programs and projects in the
       province of Ontario. This award is given to field practitioners.
    -  Brian Weller, a volunteer with victim services of York Region, for
       volunteer efforts and dedication to victims of crime in the province
       of Ontario. This award is given to volunteers.
    -  Lynn Zammit, co-ordinator of the Choices for Youth Program and
       Restorative Justice Project, Waterloo Region District School Board,
       for exceptional support and dedication to youth and other victims.
       This award may be given to youth or adult volunteers or professional
       service providers.
    

    "We should all be very proud of these award recipients. They are all
dedicated to delivering and improving victim services and have succeeded in
developing effective and innovative services and strategies," said Bryant.
"The outstanding results of their efforts make Ontario communities stronger."
    Nominations were reviewed by a panel consisting of members of the victim
services community, Ministry of the Attorney General staff and the Office for
Victims of Crime.
    "We are very pleased to participate in such an important program, that
highlights the recipients' outstanding qualities of leadership," said Ruth
Campbell, Chair of the Office for Victims of Crime. "These recipients are
excellent role models for the entire victim services community."
    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.
    "These awards recognize the many attributes of the recipients, and their
efforts to develop and carry through effective and innovative services and
strategies," said Bryant. "The McGuinty government is committed to
continuously increasing the effectiveness of victim services across the
province, and one step in achieving that goal is to make sure that local
agencies know about and learn from the successes of exemplary individuals and
organizations."
    This awards program is just the latest example of the McGuinty
government's support for Ontario victims of crime.

    
    Other initiatives include:

    -  Investing $15.1 million over three years in the Community Grant
       Program, to fund locally based innovative projects to enhance services
       for victims of crime

    -  Implementing a five-part, $5 million provincewide strategy to combat
       Internet child pornography and luring and prevent re-victimization

    -  Expanding the Victim/Witness Assistance Program to all 54 Ontario
       court districts. This program, which is celebrating its 20th
       anniversary, offers advice, compassion, information and support to
       victims and witnesses while they are involved with the criminal
       justice system.


    Disponible en français

                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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                    VICTIM SERVICES AWARDS OF DISTINCTION
    

    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:

    -  Moonie Ali, of Toronto, for courage and perseverance in raising the
       profile of victim issues in the province of Ontario.

       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.

    -  Jo-Anne Hughes, for outstanding service to victims of crime in the
       province of Ontario.

       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, for developing and implementing innovative victim
       service programs and projects in the province of Ontario.

       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.

    -  Brian Weller, for volunteer efforts and dedication to victims of crime
       in the province of Ontario.

       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, for exceptional support and dedication to youth and other
       victims.

       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.

    
    Disponible en français

                      www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Greg Crone, Ministry of the Attorney General,
Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210

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