CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (“OVC”) and the United States Attorney Offices for the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa will join communities nationwide in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and celebrating victims’ rights, protections and services. This year’s observance takes place April 18-24 and is the 40th anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
OVC leads communities throughout the country in their annual observances of NCVRW by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s theme – Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities. – celebrates the contributions that we all can make toward building trust in our community’s capacity to support the healing journeys of crime victims. Trust is collective as well as individual, so we are honoring both the individual victims in our community and the groups engaged in building networks of understanding and support.
In Iowa, Acting United States Attorneys Sean Berry and Richard Westphal announced winners for five awards based on their service to victims in Iowa. In the Northern District of Iowa, the following award was announced:
- The Award for Excellence in Victim Services is presented to Cinnamon Mawdsley from the Kossuth County Attorney’s office. Ms. Mawdsley has worked as the Kossuth County Victim/Witness Coordinator for seventeen years. She has demonstrated a passion for assisting crime victims and survivors through the criminal justice process. Ms. Mawdsley also provides victim assistance training to her colleagues. Ms. Mawdsley’s great work has been recognized by the victims she supports, her co-workers in the Kossuth County Attorney’s Office, and law enforcement organizations and other allied professionals.
“For nearly two decades, Cinnamon Mawdsley has dedicated countless hours to serving crime victims and survivors,” said Acting United States Attorney Berry. “In doing so, she has set a high standard for assisting victims during a difficult process. Her work has impacted hundreds of victims, law enforcement officers, and community members.”
In the Southern District of Iowa, the following awards were announced:
- The Law Enforcement Victim Services Award is presented to
-Investigator Brady Carney of the Des Moines Police Department,
Investigator Carney’s tireless work to help multiple victims in a large-scale sex trafficking investigation was critical to supporting federal charges. His relentless efforts have not only provided evidence to support prosecution, but also invaluable assistance to victims from all over the country.
-Investigator Michael Sieren of the Ottumwa Police Department, Throughout his career, Investigator Sieren’s fierce dedication to holding violent offenders accountable was outmatched only by his unwavering concern for protecting victim’s safety. The Ottumwa community is a safer, better place as the result of Investigator Sieren’s perseverance and compassion.
-Detective Erin Costanzo of the Des Moines Police Department, As a member of the DART (Domestic Abuse Resource Team) at the Des Moines Police Department since 2006, Detective Costanzo is on the front lines of domestic abuses cases. She has regularly provided follow up investigation for state criminal prosecutions, while at the same time providing valuable access to resources and support for victims. Because of her commitment, countless victims have found a lifeline to safer and happier lives.
- The award for Excellence in Victim Services is awarded to Nicole Norton/Victim Witness Coordinator at the Story County Attorney’s Office. In their time of need, Nicole Norton has selflessly provided vital assistance to Story County victims, specifically victims of violent crime and sexual abuse. Her empathy, compassion, and willingness to go the extra mile has clearly made a difference in countless victims’ lives, and the successful prosecution of the involved criminal offenders.
“These awards proudly recognize the exceptional efforts of four individuals providing assistance to federal and state victims in the Southern District of Iowa,” said Acting United States Attorney Westphal. “Advocacy for the rights and safety of victims is a cogent reminder of the long-term human impact of these crimes. The service of these four individuals, and other state and federal victim advocates, are a vital component of our criminal justice system.”
Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, putting crime victims’ rights, needs, and concerns in a prominent spot on the American agenda. He also established the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, which laid the groundwork for a national network of services and legal safeguards for crime victims.
For more information on how to create your own public campaigns to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights online and at events throughout the year, please visit: https://www.ovc.ojp.gov/