Thank you, Kris [Rose]. I am so pleased to be here to help welcome everyone to this year’s National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony. It is such a privilege to be joined by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General. Their presence here today speaks volumes about this Justice Department’s unwavering commitment to supporting crime victims and those who serve them.
I’d like to congratulate all of our outstanding award recipients—the individuals, the teams and the organizations that have done such exceptional work on behalf of crime victims. It is an honor to recognize each of you for your achievements and contributions.
Let me also be the first to thank Kris and the incredible staff of our Office for Victims of Crime for all the hard work that went into planning today’s event, and for all they do, each and every day, to support and improve services for victims of crime.
And of course, thank you to everyone here for being part of today’s ceremony and for the exceptional work that you do on behalf of crime victims.
Today you will hear expressions of gratitude and support from the highest levels of the Department of Justice, and I would like to add my own pledge of support on behalf of the Office of Justice Programs. As Kris and her team lead our efforts to reach all victims, OJP as a whole is dedicating its resources to supporting survivors of crime and expanding our base of knowledge around the challenges they face every day in order to better meet their needs:
- Our Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is investing in our nation’s youth and improving the response to children who are abused and exploited—with the goal of preventing those crimes in the first place.
- Our Bureau of Justice Assistance is helping communities test sexual assault evidence kits and bring answers to sexual assault survivors, and they are supporting a key part of this Administration’s work to respond to hate crimes.
- Our National Institute of Justice is leading efforts to find missing persons and solve cold cases, and they are pursuing critical research on a range of issues, from racial disparities and access to justice for survivors to effective public safety interventions.
- The Bureau of Justice Statistics serves as the best source of data about crime victims in this country, while our SMART Office is helping states and communities build the infrastructure needed to appropriately supervise those convicted of sex offences and reduce the number of future victims.
The Office of Justice Programs is also playing a critical role in the Administration’s work to advance equity and racial justice. More than ever before, we are investing in communities and their solutions, and we are helping to build trust to better address the needs of marginalized communities and communities of color.
We know there can be no equal justice as long as large groups of our fellow Americans feel unsafe and are unable to obtain the services and assistance they need to heal. We stand committed to listening to and partnering with underserved communities to ensure that services are available, culturally relevant, accessible and trauma-responsive. I am proud of the work that our Office for Victims of Crime, and offices across OJP, are doing to deliver justice for all victims and for all Americans.
Our award recipients today embody the very best in service to victims of crime, and we are so proud to celebrate their amazing contributions. They have helped to make our world a more just and more compassionate place. They are truly an inspiration.
It is now my great honor to introduce our next speaker, an advocate for crime victims and a proven champion of the rights of every American. Please join me in welcoming the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland.