Statewide Awards 2019
- July 29, 2019
- Posted by: Lucca Wang
- Category: 2019, Announcements, News
A list of the 2019 Kansas Statewide Awards:
- Project of the Year: SOS Strong, a program of SOS, Inc. in Emporia
- State-Level Ally of the Year: Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative
- Juliene Maska Advocate of the Year: Teresa Oliver, SOS, Inc.’s Osage County Advocate
- State-Level Elected Official Ally of the Year: Governor Laura Kelly
The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV)’s Executive Director Joyce Grover also presented service awards to three retiring KCSDV Board of Directors (Board) members for their time and work serving on KCSDV’s Board:
- Mark Schreiber for 10 years
- Elizabeth Miller for 9 years
- Natalie Haag for 9 years
Details and more information on the awards and why the awardees were honored are below.
Project of the Year: SOS Strong, a program of SOS, Inc. in Emporia
The award is for a KCSDV member program or project with a demonstrated record of enhancing victim safety and services, increasing perpetrator accountability, or creating social change to end sexual or domestic violence, stalking or dating violence in Kansas.
A project of SOS, Inc. – the Emporia-based organization that provides the core sexual and domestic violence advocacy services to six rural Kansas counties – SOS Strong’s all-male membership pledges to lead by example, to never blame victims, to be positive up-standers rather than willing bystanders, to not engage in any acts of violence, to stand-up for someone in need, and to always use their voices to speak-up for what is right.
SOS Strong members fundraise for victim services, act as positive role models for youth, teach youth strong positive character, and increase community awareness.
Now in it’s 4th year, SOS Strong is currently conducting its annual campaign that supports SOS’s four main programs: 1) the Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Services; 2) Child Visitation and Exchange Center; 3) CASA of the Flint Hills; and 4) the Child Advocacy Center.
Thank you to all members of SOS Strong for your dedication and commitment to ending sexual and domestic violence.
State-Level Ally of the Year: Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative
This award is given to allies that demonstrates the commitment to enhance victim safety, increase perpetrator accountability or work to end or prevent sexual or domestic violence, stalking or dating violence on the state-level.
In the fall of 2014, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation initiated the Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and began the process of determining how many unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits had been collected by forensic nurses and turned over to law enforcement, yet, for a variety of reasons, remained in evidence property rooms and were not submitted to a crime laboratory for forensic analysis. In the fall of 2015, the KBI was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to support efforts to reduce the statewide inventory of Sexual Assault Kits in Kansas.
In addition to determining how many unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits had accumulated in the state, the KBI convened a statewide multidisciplinary working group to evaluate the underlying factors contributing to the accumulation. The group was tasked with creating evidence-based recommendations and model policy to both address the statewide inventory and prevent a similar accumulation in the future.
As a result of these efforts, over 2,200 previously unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits were identified throughout the state. Behind every one of these kits is a victim, and, an offender. Much collaboration has occurred between Kansas law enforcement, prosecutors, laboratory professionals, community-based and system-based victim advocates, and medical professionals in an effort to fully understand the systematic, financial, and legal barriers to Sexual Assault Kit submission and testing.
Today, the majority of the previously unsubmitted kits have been or will soon be tested. Kansas now has offender data that shows of the 907 suspects with a trackable criminal history under this project, 7,302 sexual and other violent offenses were identified – an average of over 8 offenses per offender – showing the nature of serial offenders and serial sex offenders. Through the multi-disciplinary efforts of the project, Kansas now has multiple model policies, including a law enforcement sexual assault model response policy. Over 2,000 professionals have now been trained on trauma-informed and victim-centered sexual assault responses and investigations. The Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative has even been looked to as a model across the nation.
Through the Kansas Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, the KBI has moved the needle on sexual assault response in Kansas.
Your demonstrated commitment to enhancing victim safety and increasing perpetrator accountability is truly appreciated. Thank you!
Juliene Maska Advocate of the Year: Teresa Oliver, SOS, Inc.’s Osage County Advocate
This award is for community-based victim advocates who demonstrate a commitment to enhancing victim safety, increasing perpetrator accountability or working to end sexual or domestic violence, stalking or dating violence in Kansas. Nominations for this award may be based on a sustained effort or an extraordinary single achievement or innovation relevant to sexual or domestic violence, stalking or dating violence in Kansas, and the achievement or efforts of the advocate must be consistent with the philosophy of victim-centered, empowerment-based advocacy.
Teresa Oliver began her advocacy as the SOS Osage County Advocate in 2004. Since that time, she has become an integral part of SOS’s success, providing an inspiring example of how we should all endeavor to conduct ourselves on a daily basis. Teresa diligently approaches every survivor with a level of compassion that is truly unrivaled. She is genuine, congenial, completely devoid of judgment, and most importantly, fully committed to empowering survivors because her concern for the safety and well-being of others never waivers.
For over a decade, Teresa has helped thousands of domestic violence and sexual assault victims and survivors. In fact, since the beginning of 2015, Teresa alone has provided over 5,000 diverse advocacy services to nearly 600 people; including, individual counseling, safety planning and court accompaniment. As impressive as these numbers are, they are indicative of the countless hours Teresa has expended to establish working connections throughout the area to better assist survivors. Her community team, which includes law enforcement, attorneys, faith-based leaders, judges, clerks, and many others, collaborates at nearly every level of the process; from immediate emergency response to long-term advocacy. All of the professionals involved understand each other’s roles, limitations, and respect the differences that ultimately ensure the most comprehensive, flexible options available to survivors. This integrated team approach has assisted numerous survivors. Whether addressing basic, everyday struggles or overcoming more complex challenges such as legal protection orders and mental healthcare, Teresa embodies a rare mix of hope and professionalism that has given thousands of individuals the confidence and resources necessary to reclaim their lives.
But, Teresa’s impact doesn’t end there. Teresa’s contribution as a mentor to new SOS advocates is equally invaluable. Her willingness to spend entire days molding and teaching her peers how to patiently communicate and best provide timely, individualized services to survivors is invaluable and, as a result, new and existing advocates routinely comment on how vital Teresa has been to both their acclimation and growth as an advocate. Through the positive relationships she has nurtured with survivors and community professionals alike and her selfless dedication to fellow advocates, Teresa exemplifies the level of dedication, humanity and humility we all aspire to achieve.
Teresa, thank you for your dedication, compassion, and service on behalf of victims and survivors!
State-Level Elected Official Ally of the Year: Governor Laura Kelly
This award is for elected individuals who hold or have recently held a state-level office and demonstrate commitment to enhancing victim safety, increasing perpetrator accountability or working to end or prevent sexual or domestic violence, stalking or dating violence in Kansas through their leadership and public service.
It has been quite a few years since this award has been given. Governor Kelly is particularly well-suited to receive this award because she and her administration are putting Kansas families first. Governor Kelly is working to rebuild the many safety nets that victims, survivors, and their families need to thrive and restore their lives after being impacted by sexual and domestic violence. It takes public officials like Governor Kelly who understand that services need to be available to help people in crisis and in transition. It takes leaders like Governor Kelly who see that a strong Kansas means strong families.
We thank Governor Kelly for her work to support victims, survivors and their families, both in the past and the present, and want to recognize her for her leadership.
The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV)’s mission is to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence. Find more information on KCSDV’s website at http://kcsdv.org.
The 24-hour Kansas Crisis Hotline is 888-END-ABUSE (888-363-2287).
KANSAS CRISIS HOTLINE: 888-END-ABUSE | 888-363-2287