Outstanding Victim Advocacy Award presented during Crime Victims' Rights Week
Erie County Family Justice Center Executive Director Mary Travers Murphy was presented a national award from the U.S. Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus. Congressman Brian Higgins nominated Murphy for the "Ed Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy" and introduced her at today's ceremony on Capitol Hill.
"Mary's leadership and advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence has resulted in increased public awareness and resources for crime victims in the Western New York community," Higgins said. "We are pleased to recognize her commitment and the work of the Family Justice Center in making a life-changing difference in the lives of others."
The awards ceremony was hosted by Rep. Ted Poe (Texas) and Rep. Jim Costa (California), co-chairs of the bipartisan caucus that has been involved in protecting and advocating for policies and programs that support victim services. Each year, the caucus recognizes five individuals who have made a difference in the lives of crime victims, survivors and those who serve them. Higgins is a member of the caucus.
"Victims of crime are not statistics," Poe said. "They are real people with real stories who have had something bad happen to them. Each year, the VRC has the privilege of honoring the quiet heroes who dedicate their lives to assisting and advocating for victims of crime. These community warriors deserve to be recognized for their hard work."
In 2009, as supervisor of the Town of Orchard Park, Murphy received a call from local law enforcement that a resident, Aasiyan Hassan, was beheaded by her husband, Muzzamil Hassan. During the trial, it was revealed Aasiyan had reported her husband's abuse on several occasions and received an order of protection, but did not have the resources to leave home, or access to legal counsel to enforce the restraining order.
Following the tragic death in her own community, and realizing suburban women are underserved, in 2010, Murphy accepted the position of executive director of the Family Justice Center. Her mission since then has been to extend outreach and services to all residents of Erie County.
The Family Justice Center of Erie County is located on Main Street in Buffalo with satellite offices in Orchard Park and Amherst. To reach the center, call 716-558-SAFE (7233).