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Recipients Of The 2012 Victim Services Awards Of Distinction

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Recipients Of The 2012 Victim Services Awards Of Distinction

Ministry of the Attorney General

The recipients of the 2012 Victim Services Awards of Distinction are:

Leanne Prendergast, Anti-bullying advocate

Woodbridge, Ontario

Seventeen year-old Leanne Prendergast was targeted by bullies because of a medical condition affecting her eyes. Over time, both Leanne and her sister, also a victim of bullying, became depressed and withdrawn. At their mother's encouragement, the young women wrote a book called Getting to Know Me, Love Our Lives: Girls Empowering Girls Into Action. Their insightful look at the challenges faced by teenage girls has become a tool for mothers, teachers and young girls. The book has received several awards, including the 2009 Youth Award from Working Against Violence Everyday (WAVE), an anti-violence organization founded by Louise Russo, a previous recipient of the Victim Services Award of Distinction.

Leanne continues to lead the fight against bullying in her community as a volunteer at the local YWCA, where she delivers workshops, and also as a speaker at various conferences. Now in her final year of high school, Leanne plans to become a social worker.

The Agoro family - Bashir, Abiola, Moji and Shola Agoro

Gloucester, Ontario

On the night of June 8, 2002, Oladapo (Dapo) Agoro was stabbed to death while trying to break up a fight at a downtown Toronto club. Inspired by Dapo's courage, the Agoro family has worked to honour his memory by establishing the Dapo Agoro Foundation For Peace, which promotes non-violent conflict resolution among youth in their community.

The foundation sponsors the Oladapo Agoro Peace Award (2003), and is currently working to investigate the problem of knife violence among youth. Each summer, the foundation hosts "Dapo Fun Day", a community picnic that promotes peace and violence prevention by celebrating Dapo's life and values.   

Tammy Rankin, Elder Abuse Advisor, Region of Durham

Whitby, Ontario

Tammy first became engaged in responding to elder abuse while working as a social service worker at a long-term care facility in the 1990s, and she has been at the forefront of the fight against it in Durham Region ever since.

As an active member of the Durham Elder Abuse Network (DEAN) -- an organization she chaired from 2005 to 2010 -- Tammy worked closely with the Durham Regional Police Service to assist in elder abuse cases that required both health and social services. This work led to the development of new services for seniors in the region, and to Tammy becoming the region's first Elder Abuse Advisor.

Working with police, fire, emergency medical services and other professionals, Tammy has provided assistance in more than 430 cases and has spearheaded many projects, including the development of a free communications kit which is available on the Durham Elder Abuse Network website.

Dr. Mohammed Baobaid, Executive Director, Muslim Resource Centre For Social Support and Integration

London, Ontario

Dr. Baobaid is the founder of the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration in London, Ontario.

Since arriving in Canada 12 years ago from Yemen, Dr. Baobaid has worked on behalf of victims to raise awareness about domestic violence in Muslim communities in Canada. His organization, which focuses on helping families who have re-located to Canada from international conflict zones, has bridged critical gaps between those communities and anti-violence groups.

Dr. Baobaid's most recent initiative, the Family Honour Project, engages the community to change behaviours by challenging existing beliefs surrounding violence against women and addressing so-called "honour-related violence" by finding alternative ways to address conflict. 

Colleen Abeles, Women's Counsellor

K3C Community Counselling Centre

Kingston, Ontario

Colleen has been working with survivors of domestic violence in the Kingston area for more than 28 years. Colleen's work has spanned a broad range of activities, from individual and group counselling, to safety planning and providing support to victims whose cases are before the courts.

A tireless advocate for her clients, Colleen's commitment to client service excellence is an inspiration to service providers in her community, where she has earned a reputation for "going the extra mile" for victims, such as by frequently collaborating with her local Victim/Witness Assistance Program office to ensure that her clients' needs continue to be met throughout the criminal court process.

Kelly Albin, Family Court Support Worker and Volunteer

Kawartha Haliburton Victim Services

City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario

Kelly, a survivor of long-term domestic abuse, has been a victim service volunteer for two years, logging more than 1,200 hours last year alone. Among the first Family Court Support Workers under the province's new program, she draws on her own background and survival to reach out to other domestic violence victims who are going through the family court process.

Many of her volunteer hours include accompanying victims of domestic violence, family members and witnesses to criminal and family courts. Kelly is a true advocate and leader on domestic violence issues in her community, where she works tirelessly to educate women and men in abusive relationships.

Sandra Brown, Director of Special Projects

Nishnawbe-Aski Nation

Thunder Bay, Ontario

For 16 years, Sandra has been responsible for the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation's Crisis Team Program. The program works to increase the capacity of First Nations communities to respond to emergencies by maintaining a well organized, well trained and well equipped crisis team to lessen the impact of traumatic stress and prevent family violence and suicide.

Sandra has also developed training for crisis intervention teams, covering a vast geographic area of 49 First Nations communities -- many of which are remotely located and only accessible by air. Sandra is also responsible for initiating the Healing From Abuse Project, which provides counselling services to more than 200 victims of sexual assault, and has been at the forefront of helping communities deal with suicide epidemics.

Mary Lou Fassel, Director of Legal Services

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

Toronto, Ontario

Mary Lou is Director of Legal Services with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which she joined as a lawyer in 1987.

Recognized in Canada and around the world for her dedication to eliminating violence against women and children, Mary Lou has overseen the development of a number of legal programs and services for women experiencing violence in all its forms.

Mary Lou's work at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic has been credited with directly improving and enriching the lives of many women living in the community. In 1998, Mary Lou established "Specialized Legal Services for Victims of Domestic Violence", a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing women's complex legal needs.

Manijeh Moghisi, Women's Counsellor

K3C Community Counselling Centre

Kingston, Ontario

Manijeh has been on the front lines of victim services in the Kingston area for more than 20 years.

With a special focus on Kingston's visible minorities, Manijeh has served in various capacities, beginning as a community liaison worker for the local domestic violence coordinating committee in 1991, and later as a counsellor to victims of domestic violence at the K3C Counselling Centre in Kingston. In her current role as a counsellor in K3C's Women's Program, Manijeh provides one-to-one cross-cultural counselling and safety planning to women dealing with abuse from past or present partners in Kingston's growing immigrant and refugee communities.

David Todd Morganstein, Volunteer

Yellow Brick House

Thornhill, Ontario

For over 20 years, David has provided free legal services to Yellow Brick House, which provides emergency counselling and shelter services to abused women and children in York Region. An expert on family law and court proceedings, David is always available to consult with staff and clients on urgent matters -- and always in a way that is easy to understand.

Through his work, David has empowered victims, many of whom may not have been able to afford legal services, to make informed decisions about their futures.

Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention

Toronto, Ontario

Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention is a community-based agency that has been working to eliminate abuse and violence against children and youth for 30 years.

Among the first organizations in the province to deliver the Child Victim/Witness Support Program, Boost has been a key partner of the Ministry of the Attorney General for many years. In addition to directly assisting thousands of children, Boost also helps child care professionals learn about the court system through training and educational materials.

More recently, Boost has taken on a key role in the implementation of the Province's Internet Child Exploitation Strategy by delivering short-term, immediate counselling for child victims of Internet sexual exploitation and their families.

Currently, Boost is helping to develop the Child & Youth Advocacy Centre for Toronto.

London Abused Women's Centre

London, Ontario

Celebrating 30 years of service, the London Abused Women's Centre provides long-term feminist counselling, advocacy and support to women and girls who are abused by their intimate partners.

The centre also helps women facing harassment in the workplace and provides counselling to women in the sex industry, including helping them to develop exit plans.

Serving over 600 abused women annually, the London Abused Women's Centre's policy is to ensure that all abused women have immediate access to the services they need.

Sexual Assault Centre - Hamilton and Area

Hamilton, Ontario

Since 1975, Hamilton's Sexual Assault Centre has provided a 24-hour support line for female and male survivors of sexual violence. It offers critical emotional support, information and referrals, including an escort to hospitals or police stations. About 90 per cent of these services are provided by the centre's many skilled and knowledgeable volunteers, who collectively log an astonishing 8,500 hours a year.

Volunteers also train and mentor new staff, serve on committees working to improve the program, and play a central role in governance and fundraising.

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