|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman today announced that two South Jersey women will be honored at a statewide Crime Victims’ Rights Week event this week for their dedication to providing outstanding services to victims of crime in their areas. A third South Jersey woman will be honored for her tireless anti-human trafficking efforts.
According to Acting Attorney General Hoffman, Linda Burkett, of Cherry Hill, Barbara Carter of West Deptford, and Kathy Friess, of Gloucester Township, will receive the first-ever Office of Attorney General Excellence Awards for Victims’ Justice at a statewide program celebrating Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The program is held annually to reaffirm New Jersey’s commitment to enforce victims’ rights and address their needs. The event is co-sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, the Victims of Crime Compensation Office and the State Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy.
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, which changed the landscape of victim rights and services nationwide,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “Through their relentless efforts, the women being honored at this week’s ceremony change the landscape every day within their own communities and throughout New Jersey.”
"These deserving award winners simply do it all: from providing a helping hand at all hours of the day or night, to making sure children have something to open on Christmas, to spreading the word about the dangers of child exploitation and human trafficking," said Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig, "All of today's winners stand as pillars of strength for countless crime victims."
Burkett and Carter will each receive the Endurance Award, which honors Victim-Witness Office Coordinators and staff who consistently set the standards for excellence in going above and beyond to assist the victim and the prosecuting team.
In nominating Burkett, a victim-witness coordinator in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk wrote, “Linda provides those affected by violence with a safe place to voice their fears and concerns and the means to effectively address them.” He continued, “Although Linda is a supervisor in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office with significant administrative duties and responsibilities, she has remained extremely hands-on with victims and victim survivors, making herself available to on-call units and responding at all hours to hospitals, police departments and crime scenes as needed.”
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton wrote the following of Carter, a victim advocate in the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, in the nomination letter: “When Victim/Witness Units were established in all counties in New Jersey in 1985, Gloucester Counties consisted of Barb and a clerical assistant. Under her guidance, the staff grew to 8, with advocates specializing in: sexual assault and child abuse; juvenile court; domestic violence in family and municipal courts; and homicide.” He continued, “She has helped several victims relocate their homes away from dangerous crime scenes. She arranges for Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets and children’s gifts for several families each year, and gives food vouchers for those severely disadvantaged.”
Friess, the Human Trafficking Program Coordinator for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, will receive the Crime Victims’ Rights Award. This award honors the dedicated advocate(s) and/or agency that have engaged in extraordinary efforts to assist trafficking victims and to educate the public in this modern day slavery.
State Victim Witness Coordinator Melissa Miller nominated Friess, writing, “Kathy Friess has been dedicated to educating and training advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors so they may, in turn, identify human trafficking victims and provide victims with applicable services. Kathy played a huge role in setting up the Say Something Assemblies, which were 3-D presentations in middle schools and high schools that traveled up and down the state of New Jersey in the weeks prior to the Super Bowl.”
“Kathy’s work ethic, combined with her compassion and patience, makes her a role model to employees at the Division of Criminal Justice,” Director Honig said. “Kathy works tirelessly to promote the goals of preventing human trafficking and I believe she embodies the true meaning of an advocate.”
Burkett, Carter and Friess will join two men from northern New Jersey in being honored at the Crime Victims’ Rights Week event on Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton.