Details Successful Legislative Efforts To Protect, Empower Victims Of Crime
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan opened the 2018 Maryland Crime Victims’ Rights Conference today at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland. The week of April 8 – April 14, 2018 marks Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is recognized nationally every year.
“Crime Victims’ Rights Week serves as a reminder of the significant progress our administration has made in securing justice for victims,” said Governor Hogan. “We remain strongly committed to ensuring that victims of crime have the right to information, the right to be present, the right to provide input, the right to receive restitution, and, most importantly, the expectation of being treated with the dignity and the respect that they deserve.”
The conference was made possible by the collaboration of the Maryland State Board of Victim Services and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. More than 400 attendees, including representatives of leading victims advocacy and service organizations, gathered to discuss innovative best practices and tools to serve victims of crime in Maryland. The national theme of Crime Victims’ Rights Week this year is “Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims,” and the governor and subsequent speakers discussed efforts to expand protections and services for victims in Maryland.
Governor Hogan detailed the administration’s success in passing several major initiatives from the governor’s legislative package to protect and empower victims of crime during the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly, which ended on April 9. The administration worked with a bipartisan coalition of advocates and legislators to pass the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2018, which will allow courts to admit evidence of a defendant’s prior history of sexual crimes or abuse in a prosecution for subsequent sex offenses, and the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, which will ensure no rapist is allowed to maintain their parental rights.
The legislature also passed the governor’s proposal to shield addresses and personal information of victims of domestic violence from becoming public when they purchase a home, as well as a bill that creates a new unit to focus on victim restitution.
The Hogan administration also worked with legislators from both parties to ensure the passage of comprehensive crime legislation containing nearly all of the initiatives in the governor’s violent crime package. The new laws increase penalties for repeat violent offenders, individuals who use firearms to commit crimes, and individuals dealing high volumes of fentanyl.
Since taking office, the Hogan administration has provided assistance to more than half a million victims in Maryland, including nearly 200,000 in 2017. Recognizing that victims often need financial assistance and resources to become self-sufficient, the administration has awarded nearly $100 million in federal and state funds to help crime victims and organizations that serve them.
“The Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention has committed $46 million in grants to directly aid victims of crime, fully funded every eligible request across the state, and served over 181,000 victims in Maryland in the past year alone,” said Glenn Fueston, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. “We are proud to ensure that Governor Hogan’s commitment to care for victims of crime is implemented swiftly and thoroughly.”
At the conference, Governor Hogan presented the Virginia Mahoney Award to D. Scott Beard; the Vincent Roper Memorial Award to Deirdre Gardner; and the Henry Gleim Memorial Award to Theresa Hiegel – all of whom are Maryland citizens who went above and beyond the call of duty to assist crime victims.
The Virginia Mahoney Award is given in recognition of a prominent state leader or high-ranking official who has epitomized true leadership in support of victim rights. In honor of Ginny Mahoney, who was a longtime advocate for victims of violent crime, the Maryland State Board of Victim Services recognizes an outstanding leader who has set the standard for excellence and professionalism in the field of victim services.
The Vincent Roper Memorial Award is given in recognition of outstanding work to secure crime victim justice for all in a quiet and selfless manner. This award is named in honor of Vincent Roper, who dedicated his life to making a difference for all crime victims and whose countless contributions revolutionized victims’ rights.
The Henry Gleim Memorial Award is given in recognition of outstanding service to crime victims and those who work to serve them. This award is given in memory of Henry Gleim, an unsung hero who gave unselfishly, generously, courageously, and with hope for those who walk in the path of victimization.
“To everyone in this room, and to crime victims all across our state, I want you to know that our administration will continue to make victims’ rights a priority, and we will keep fighting on your behalf each and every day,” said Governor Hogan.