National, USA – (November 8, 2013)– The National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation announced today that Keli Rabon, ABC 7 News Investigative Reporter in Denver, CO will receive the 2013 Jane Velez-Mitchell Journalism Award on Saturday, January 18, 2014 during the Southwest Conference Against Trafficking in Los Angeles, CA.
The Jane Velez-Mitchell Journalism Award is named after award-winning journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell, on HLN. “I am proud to support such an honorable and urgent cause by encouraging journalists to cover the critical issues affecting women.
Fighting the ‘war on women’ must become a priority in our society…this can be accomplished only by making it a priority in our national dialogue,” said Velez- Mitchell.
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“Rabon, was nominated by a rape survivor for the Jane Velez-Mitchell Journalism Award; although all of the nominees are outstanding in their field, it was the nomination of Keli that won the vote from our judging committee for her ongoing efforts to expose the truth about untested rape kits throughout the Denver Metro area,” said Natalie Brand, JVM Journalism Award Chairperson.
According to the Joyful Heart Foundation, ending the backlog starts with knowing that a backlog exists and determining the number of untested kits sitting in police and crime lab storage facilities. Few state or local governments and no federal agencies track this rape kit data, making it difficult to determine which states and cities have backlogs, and which do not. Much of what we do know about the backlog has been uncovered by journalists, human rights researchers and—less often—city or state officials.
Many local news affiliates and non-profit organizations have reported on untested rape kits, and others may be willing to investigate whether your state or city has a backlog. As an example, in November 2012, Keli Rabon, reporter with ABC 7 News in Colorado, uncovered hundreds of untested rape kits at police departments across the greater Denver area. Rabon’s investigation and its subsequent national media coverage led directly to changes in policies at the state and local levels. The police departments in question changed their rape kit testing policies to test all kits, and the state legislature passed a law making Colorado the third state to require law enforcement agencies to test every rape kit booked into evidence.
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“In the three years of presenting the JVM Award, this was the first time we actually had a nomination from a survivor for a reporter’s investigation and story,” said Michelle Bart, President and Co-Founder of NWCAVE. “Keli’s investigation and ongoing persistence has had numerous outcomes that will forever be a part of her legacy as a journalist. Honoring her in January will not only be on behalf of NWCAVE and Jane but rape victims throughout Colorado that deserve to be heard and their rapists be prosecuted,” said Bart.
Rabon will be presented the award at the Southwest Conference Against Trafficking in January. The conference is open to the public, for more information visit www.SWCAT.org.
The National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation (NWCAVE) is a volunteer operated non- profit organization located in the pacific northwest of the United States of America. We continue working to inform, educate and prevent violence and exploitation against women and children nationally and internationally.
Whether human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, bullying, hate crimes and all other forms of violence and exploitation against women and children, NWCAVE strives to keep the public informed and educated on how we can live in a more civilized society free of violence.
In order to achieve our mission and objectives we collaborate with other organizations, businesses, the public and media to continue to inform, educate and help prevent violence and exploitation in our local communities and throughout the world. www.NWCAVE.org
Michelle A. Bart, President NWCAVE
National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation Cell: (626) 644-3472
Office: (360) 852-8019