FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2014
Contact: Tara Ballesteros
Washington, DC - Mai Fernandez, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime was honored today with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. The Medal and Citation were awarded in recognition of her work on the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel and for her service as the Chair of the Victim Services Subcommittee.
The Response Systems Panel, appointed by Congress and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, was created by the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act to conduct an independent review and assessment of the systems used to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate crimes involving adult sexual assault and related offenses in the military. Panel members attended public and subcommittee meetings as well as site visits to military installations, hearing from over 400 witnesses and reviewing thousands of pages of documents. The Response Systems Panel’s findings were presented in June of this year.
As the Citation presented to Ms. Fernandez includes, “She and other members of the Response Systems Panel consolidated and analyzed this vast amount of testimony and documentary evidence resulting in a comprehensive, well-reasoned, meticulously researched report with over one hundred recommendations to Congress, the Department of Defense, and the Military Services in the areas of the role of the commander in the military justice process; victim services and victim rights; and the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of adult sexual assault cases in the military.”
The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.