TOPEKA – (June 9, 2023) – Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach today presented four awards honoring outstanding service to victims of crime to individuals who have made significant contributions toward improving the lives of those who have experienced crime.
“Victims of crime experience so much uncertainty and trauma, and the work of these service award winners on their behalf is truly invaluable,” Kobach said. “Providing justice to crime victims is so much more than prosecuting offenders. Justice includes serving crime victims in their time of need, supporting them throughout the process, and helping to ensure their voices are heard.”
Kobach personally presented the awards to recipients during a luncheon in Topeka. Nominations for the awards were made by their peers, victim families, and other community partners across Kansas.
The awards, which have been presented annually by the Office of the Attorney General for nearly three decades, were presented personally to the recipients by Kobach during a luncheon in Topeka. Nominations for the awards were made by their peers, victim families and other community partners across Kansas.
Community Champion Award - Cristina Janney, Hays Post/Eagle Radio
This award recognizes an individual or group that has made a significant difference for victims of crime. Janney is the editor of the Hays Post/Eagle Radio with almost 30 years of experience working in Kansas media.
In early 2023, Janney wrote a two-part series about reporting and prosecution rates for rape and sexual assault in Ellis County. She also partnered with Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, which provides victims advocacy in northwest Kansas, on the “What Were You Wearing?” art exhibit. The exhibit attempts to break the stereotype that what an individual was wearing contributed to their rape.
Jennifer Hecker, the executive director at Options nominated Janney.
“Cristina’s leadership in the community to use her platform is both inspiring and impactful. She uses her time, talents, and influence to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence in our community, never shying away from difficult topics,” Hecker said.
Criminal Justice Award – Lt. Detective Garen Honn, Coffey County Sheriff’s Office
This award recognizes individuals who made a positive contribution regarding the needs of victims or offender accountability within the criminal justice response.
Law enforcement agencies from across Kansas regularly call on Honn for assistance with child sex crimes investigations due to his extensive training, expertise, and leadership skills. A 17-year law enforcement veteran, Honn is known for his ability to create connections with those he talks to, whether it be a perpetrator, family member or victim of the crime. He said his intent is always being someone people can speak to in order to help the family and the case itself, seeking to get justice for victims as much as possible.
Connie Cahoone, Executive Director of SOS, Inc., nominated Honn for the award for his assistance with the child advocacy center’s service delivery for abused children, as well as his leadership in the successful implementation of a Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment protocol for Coffey County in 2022.
“Honn provides outstanding service for local crime victims through his tireless work ethic and an unwavering commitment to protect and serve,” Cahoone said.
Outstanding Community-Based Advocate – Emily Selby, Stepping Stones Child Advocacy Center, Manhattan
This award recognizes a community-based victim advocate for outstanding work in improving the lives of crime victims.
Selby is the Director of Stepping Stones Child Advocacy Center in Manhattan. She was nominated for her efforts, in part, for increasing the CAC’s service capacity with two additional Forensic Interviewers/Family Advocate positions; strengthening and expanding the multi-disciplinary team (MDT); developing a partnership with the Fort Riley Army Garrison in order to seamlessly serve Fort Riley child victims and their families through Stepping Stones CAC; and most recently laying the groundwork to establish a multi-disciplinary team in neighboring Geary County.
Carson Kober, Executive Director of Sunflower Children’s Collective, nominated Selby based on her “amazing” work as a child victim advocate.
“Emily has created a far more trauma-informed agency and continues to search for ways to provide more in the way of advocacy for children interviewed in the child advocacy center and their families,” Kober said.
Outstanding System-Based Advocate – Natassia Records, Special Victims Unit, Investigations Division, Lawrence Police Department
This award recognizes a system-based victim advocate for outstanding work in improving the lives of crime victims.
Records is a Victim Advocate with the Special Victims Unit at the Lawrence Police Department. She was nominated for her efforts to establish a Domestic Violence Outreach Team which allowed the department to increase its capacity in supporting victims as they work through the criminal justice system. Records was instrumental in the department’s implementation of a Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment protocol, which focuses on victim safety and connection with resources in the community.
“Natassia’s efforts to establish a Domestic Violence Outreach Team allowed the department to increase our capacity in supporting victims as they work through the criminal justice system, and she is actively bringing community service providers together to produce better long-term outcomes, including prosecution of cases,” said Adam Heffley, Deputy Chief of the Lawrence Police Department.
To find more information and photos of the 2023 Crime Victim Service Award recipients, please go to ag.ks.gov/Victim-Services/2023-Awards.