The 4th annual Keep DC SAFE is coming upon October 2, 2014. This annual awards reception will feature light fare, beer and wine, live music, and an awards ceremony at which we recognize the partners who have been crucial to our past year’s domestic violence crisis services. We’d like to take a chance to tell you all about this year’s special award recipients and invite you to join us in recognizing them. Please click here for information and tickets.
This year’s Laura Banks Reed Award for Community Service to Victims of Violence will be presented to Valerie Collins of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA). CSOSA is a longtime partner of SAFE, and in the past year they have stepped up training for Court Supervision Officers around domestic violence issues and have worked closely with our Lethality Assessment Project staff to tighten alert processes and offender accountability strategies in high lethality cases. This means that victims at high risk of re-assault or homicide can get help from CSOSA in enforcing their abuser’s release status conditions, reducing the survivor’s risk of harm and giving her time to secure additional supportive resources to protect her from abuse. The award is named for Laura Banks Reed, the Director of Crime Victims’ Compensation Program and a valued community partner for DC SAFE.
The MPD Officer of the Year Award for Outstanding Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence will be presented to Officer Derek Dude, Officer Joseph Devlin, Officer Justin Roth. These outstanding officers are being recognized for their heroic actions in the field to save the life of a domestic violence survivor. The victim was stabbed 15 times by her abuser and left in the street to die. Officers Dude, Devlin, & Roth responded to the scene, and when they saw the amount of blood surrounding the victim, they suspected an arterial bleed. The officers improvised a tourniquet from a passerby’s belt to stop the arterial bleeding, provided compression to the wound and elevated the leg to slow the blood flow, while they waited those critical few minutes for the ambulance to arrive and transport the victim to a hospital. Without their quick action, this survivor would not have lived to celebrate her birthday, just a few days following the attack.
The SAFE Volunteer Advocate of The Year Award will be presented to Robyn Swirling. Robyn has been volunteering with DC SAFE since September 2012, and is one of our most dedicated volunteers, working at minimum 12 hours per month on SAFE’s 24-hour Response Line. DC SAFE receives approximately 4,500 calls on our Response Line each year. In 24 months as a volunteer, Robyn has answered approximately 150 calls from survivors seeking help. Robyn coordinates shelter placements, lock changes, criminal justice advocacy, and walks clients through the protection order process. She also accompanies police on monthly ride-alongs to provide in-person advocacy at the scene of a domestic incident. Aside from performing her volunteer duties above and beyond expectation, Robyn uses her social media savvy to advocate, inform, and raise awareness about domestic violence in Washington, DC. She regularly tweets about her experience as a volunteer, encourages others to engage in the local domestic violence community, and solicits donations. She also assists with training new volunteers, where her enthusiasm and expertise is an inspiration to volunteers new and old. She is an exemplary volunteer, and it is people like Robyn that make our work possible.
In addition to Robyn, we’ll recognize two more volunteers who have gone above and beyond in the past year. Kim Martin will be presented with the OCAP Sleepover Award for signing up for more overnight Response Line shifts than any other volunteer – 72 out of 124 volunteer hours this year. This is our most grueling shift and the hardest to get coverage for – thanks, Kim, for being a hero for local survivors.
We’ll also honor Nadja Todt with the Ride Along Representative Award. Nadja has done more MPD Ride Alongs than any other volunteer. Since January, she has spent 152 hours on 19 Ride Alongs, providing in-person advocacy to victims immediately after abuse has occurred. This in-person advocacy is so valuable for survivors, and engaging with our MPD partners helps strengthen this terrific collaboration even further.
This year’s event also features a truly exciting musical guest, Deaf Dog & The Indictments. This band includes six DC Superior Court judges (Judge William Nooter, Judge Franklin Burgess Jr., Judge John Campbell, Judge Russell F. Canan, Judge William Jackson and Judge John McCabe) plus non-judge drummer and psychologist Marc Feldman. This band formed as part of a talent competition during a DC Superior Court staff retreat, and has gone on to perform numerous gigs around the DC Metro area, including charity events for Children’s National Medical Center, Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the National Juvenile Defender Association. They have even performed at the famous Bitter End in Greenwich Village.
We hope you will join us on October 2nd for this terrific event. Help us continue to make DC a safer place for domestic violence survivors.