U.S. Congressman Ted Poe was honored by the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) today for his work on behalf of victims of crime. NOVA presented Congressman Poe with the Morton Bard Allied Professional Award at their 31st Annual Conference in Atlanta.

The primary duty of government is to protect its citizens we as a people are not judged by the way we treat the rich, the famous, influential, powerful, but by the way we treat the weak, the innocent. We must arm our communities against predators and we must fight for those who are victimized, said Representative Poe. I am proud to stand with NOVA in addressing the plight of victims. It is an honor to accept this award and I look forward to working with NOVA and continuing the fight for victims rights.

Congressman Poe received the award for his contributions to victims assistance in Congress. This year Congressman Poe has spearheaded the effort to save Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding and was instrumental in the creation of the Child Safety Bill which incorporated his child predator bill. The VOCA Fund is a crucial resource, on which many communities and organizations rely. It assists rape crisis centers; domestic violence shelters; and victims cover court costs, funeral services, and medical expenses. Congressman Poe led a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress that urged Chairman Jerry Lewis to continue VOCA funds. The coalition teamed up with the nations leading victims groups in a massive grassroots effort and was successful. The FY06 Science, Department of State, Justice, and Commerce and related agencies appropriations bills language did not include the rescission of VOCA funds.

Most recently he was instrumental in the crafting of H.R. 3132, the Children's Safety Act. The House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved this legislation which addresses the growing epidemic of violence against children, and enhances the safety of children from convicted sex offenders through coordinated State sex offender registration and notification programs. Drafted in response to the recent kidnappings, rapes, and murders of several children like Jessica Lunsford, Sarah Lunde, and Jetseta Gage, this new legislation includes provisions from Congressman Poes Child Predator Act of 2005 (H.R. 1355) that he introduced in mid-March.

The Morton Bard Allied Professional Award recognizes individuals whose primary profession is not in direct victim services but who often went outside their traditional professional arena to develop innovations that helped victims, or who provide extraordinary care for victims, or who became policy advocates on behalf of victims. Morton Bard was a psychologist who wrote the first book on responding to victims of crime in 1979, "The Crime Victims Handbook." He also wrote the first law enforcement training materials on domestic violence in 1972, and followed up over the years with volunteer work in training for victim service providers and law enforcement officers. He served on the NOVA Board of Directors.

Since being elected to Congress, Poe has focused on being a victims advocate. Spearheading the effort to protect VOCA funding, Congressman Poe co-chairs the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus that he founded. Poe has over 22 years experience dealing with criminal cases as a felony court judge and a prosecutor. He is a leading authority on crime, justice, and childrens issues.

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