TOPEKA — (April 24, 2020) — Two Topeka organizations were recognized this week for their service to crime victims as part of the annual Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
The Topeka/Shawnee County Anti-trafficking Coalition and the Topeka Rotary clubs were notified by the attorney general’s office this week in lieu of an in-person awards ceremony typically held during the state’s annual Crime Victims’ Rights Conference that they have received the Outstanding Victim Service Response Award.
The Topeka/Shawnee County Anti-Trafficking Coalition was first established in 2015 to ensure that the Topeka community would respond effectively in preventing human trafficking and serving victims. Dr. Sharon Sullivan of Washburn University and Christina Chavez from the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment are current co-chairs of this organization, and its membership represents a broad spectrum of community organizations involved in the response to human trafficking, including:
- American Medical Response
- Communities In Schools
- Kansas Department for Children and Families
- Florence Crittenton
- Kansas Legal Services
- Kansas Childrens Service League
- Kansas Department of Corrections—Juvenile Justice
- KVC Health Systems
- Lifehouse Child Advocacy Center
- Shawnee County Community Corrections
- Shawnee County Jail Shawnee County Juvenile Detention Center
- Shawnee County Sheriff
- Stop Trafficking and Reject Slavery
- Stormont Vail Hospital
- The Family Peace Initiative
- Topeka Police Department
- Topeka Rescue Mission
- USD 345
- USD 437
- USD 501
- Valeo Behavioral Health
- YWCA of Northeast Kansas
The Topeka Rotary clubs have supported the service efforts of the Coalition through different impactful initiatives, such as the “Be an Angel” program that organizes small private donations to meet the needs of trafficking victims that are unable to be covered by other funding and the “Fresh Start Kit” initiative to provide critical basic need items to victims who flee with nothing. Additionally, club members assisted in YWCA’s successful application of an Rotary International grant to provide the initial funding for YWCA’s day center.
The annual recognition of those who provide outstanding service to victims of crime was scheduled to take place at the 23rd Annual Crime Victims’ Rights Conference hosted by the governor and attorney general. The conference was to take place April 1-2 in Wichita, but was canceled due to the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.