Costa Honors Local Victim Advocates with Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Awards

Apr 13, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA-16) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-2) – co-founders and co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus (VRC) – held the Caucus’s annual awards ceremony honoring individuals for their outstanding efforts and achievements supporting and empowering victims and survivors of crime. Since they founded the VRC in 2005, Costa and Poe have been leading the congressional effort to protect the rights of crime victims and ensure survivors have access to the resources they need for recovery.

“Our survivors deserve justice, plain and simple,” said Rep. Costa. “Unfortunately, our system often does not do enough to ensure they receive the support, fair treatment, and advocacy required for true justice. Congressman Poe and I formed the bipartisan Victims’ Rights Caucus because we knew something had to be done to change this. We have been working in Congress for the past thirteen years to elevate the understanding of the effects of crime on survivors and communities, and to provide survivors with real justice that fits the crimes they endured.”

Costa continued, “In the same vein, those who work tirelessly every day to serve our victims and survivors far too often go unnoticed. These advocates, public servants, and other deeply dedicated individuals are frequently a lifeline for our survivors and their families. It is a true honor to recognize and thank them for their outstanding work with our annual awards.”

At this year’s awards ceremony, Congressman Costa honored two local victim advocates: Arien Pauls and Julie Nauman.

Rep. Costa awarded Arien Pauls the “Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award,” which is given to an individual who is a survivor of a violent crime and has used the experience to help other survivors. Pauls is a survivor of human trafficking who now works in Fresno, California to both serve other human trafficking survivors and educate young girls about the vulnerabilities and risks that can lead to human trafficking. She is a lead victim advocate at Breaking the Chains and a prevention educator at the Central Valley Justice Coalition.

Reflecting on her work, Rep. Costa deemed Pauls “an example of true strength and the triumph of the human spirit.”

Costa honored Julie Nauman, Executive Officer of the California Victim Compensation Board, with the “Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness.” This award recognizes an individual or organization that has used its voice – throughout the media – to promote and to bring about change at the national level for crime victims and survivors. In her role on the Board, Nauman led her team to design and implement multi-lingual survivor outreach programs and public awareness campaigns about survivor compensation. In addition, after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017, Nauman and the California Crime Compensation Board reached across state lines to ensure the hundreds of Californians who were attending the concert received information, assistance, and guidance with victim compensation.

“When my district was faced with the shooting on April 17, 2017, Julie was a remarkable ‘first responder’ in every sense of the word,” shared Rep. Costa when honoring Nauman yesterday. “She personally helped my district staff provide compensation… then helped connect the Fresno Police Department with resources that could fund victim and survivor assistance services.”

In addition to Pauls and Nauman, the VRC honored awardees Megan Rondini (posthumous winner), U.S. Center for SafeSport, Honorable Judge Lisa Block Rowdin, and Jessica Johnson.

For video of Congressman Costa honoring Arien Pauls, click here.

For video of Congressman Costa honoring Julie Nauman, click here.

For video of the entire Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus awards ceremony, click here.