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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1997202/307-0703


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At the first National Symposium on Victims of Federal Crime, Attorney General Reno today stressed the need for improved services for federal crime victims. "Those of us who work with federal crime victims must set the example," said Reno. "At the President's direction, we must do everything necessary to improve the treatment of victims in the federal criminal justice system." The Symposium is sponsored by the Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and managed by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA).

In addition to citing the President's June 1996 directive to her regarding federal crime victims, Reno also mentioned the Administration's support for a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of all crime victims. The President reiterated this support in his State of the Union Address last week. Conference presenters will provide information regarding existing federal victims' rights statutes, proposed federal constitutional amendments for victims' rights and federal victim-related issues of the Violence Against Women Act.

The conference, which began today and will run through Friday, is providing training for over 700 federal criminal justice personnel, victim-witness coordinators and social service providers from a broad range of federal agencies, military installations and U.S. Attorneys' Offices with statutory duties for handling criminal cases and responsibilities toward federal crime victims.

"This symposium, the first of its kind, helps meet a continuing need for additional training and technical assistance," said OVC Director Aileen Adams. "It shows an unprecedented level of agency collaboration of which we are very proud."

The Attorney General also emphasized the need for all agencies to work together to form a "seamless" victim assistance program. She thanked NOVA, crime victim advocates and federal victim-witness coordinators for their commitment and efforts on behalf of crime victims, especially federal crime victims.

Reno also focused on recent federal efforts to assist victims of crime, including President Clinton's 1994 Crime Act, Megan's Law and the Justice Department's efforts to support crime victim services through improved criminal debt collections and federal crime victim compensation and assistance grants administered by OVC. The President's 1996 Antiterrorism Law expanded federal criminal statutes to include additional crimes, such as terrorism and mass violence.

Conference topics include building bank robbery response teams, carjacking and drug-related crime victims, law enforcement-based victim-witness programs, cross cultural issues in service delivery, hate crimes, working with military installations, crime victims and corrections, international parental kidnapping, crime victims and the media and crisis response.

To learn more about OVC and its programs, visit the World Wide Web site at or call the OVC Resource Center at 800/627-6872.



After hours, contact: Linda Mansour, 202/516-6800