Story and photos by Ike Dodson, CDCR PIO
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Back in April, Nancy Padilla and Michelle Martin of the Crime Victims’ Assistance Network (iCAN) accepted a special certificate from CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan and the Office of Victims and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) Chief Nolice Edwards during a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week event at Fremont Park.

The recognition, bestowed to Padilla and Martin on behalf of iCAN creator Christine Ward, acknowledged OVSRS partners who advocate support, education and empowerment for those impacted by crime.

Recently, iCAN provided similar recognition from the advocate community with a big nod toward the state office responsible for giving a voice to crime victims and their families.

After extending fervent appreciation on behalf of survivors inside a CDCR Headquarters conference room, Padilla, Martin and Ward presented Edwards and the entire OVSRS team with tokens of appreciation from the victim and survivor advocate community.

“iCAN chose to recognize OVSRS because they do not get the recognition that they deserve for all of the hard work that they do,” iCAN volunteer coordinator and victim advocate Nakisha Milton explained. “They help thousands of victims in numerous ways, including helping when victims receive notices of release and assistance in collecting restitution.”

OVSRS staff members were all smiles while collecting the bounty of iCAN’s gratitude.

“They were given certificates of appreciation and a small plant to add a bit of beauty to each of their desks,” Milton said. “They go the extra mile and bend over backwards to help victims, and us here at iCAN for that matter, so we wanted to make sure that the entire office knew how much we appreciate them.

“Their services are essential for the victims whose perpetrators are housed in CDCR facilities.”

Edwards said she was pleased to see her team receive the warm recognition.

“I consider my team the ‘first responder’ on behalf of the department to provide outreach on the vital services available to the victim and survivor community,” Edwards explained. “This tribute was special as it acknowledged the dedication, compassion and empathy embodied in those who are a part of the OVSRS team and who, on a daily basis, assist victims and their families tragically impacted by crime.”

OVSRS maintains a comprehensive victim services program and establishes justice practices to ensure crime victims and survivors are afforded the utmost respect in exercising their legal rights. The office is responsible for providing information, notification, restitution, outreach, training, referral and support services to crime victims and their next of kin.

To learn more about CDCR’s outreach to the victim and survivor community, visit http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/.