The U.S. Department of Justice recognized Kendall Carver with the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award during the annual National Crime Victims’ Service Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C, last week.
The award goes to individuals whose leadership, vision and innovation have led to significant changes in public policy and practice that benefit crime victims.
Carver helped found the International Cruise Victims Association, Inc. (ICV) 11 years ago after his daughter, Merrian, disappeared from a cruise ship. She remains missing to this day.
Carver and the ICV have helped families of cruise ship victims publicize the crimes and ensure that the offenders are prosecuted, and worked to bring about enactment of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010.
“In an incredible act of emotional strength, Mr. Carver has worked through the anguish of losing his daughter to fight for the rights of families across the globe,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Alan R. Hanson. “The Department of Justice is proud to honor him for his outstanding service and for his unflagging pursuit of justice on behalf of the injured and aggrieved.”
In his acceptance speech, Carver credits the work of ICV to the passion of the victims located in 35 countries.
During the ceremony, the Department of Justice also recognized 11 other individuals and organizations for their outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims. Awardees were selected from public nominations in nine categories, including federal service, special courage, public policy and victim services.
The Department’s Office for Victims of Crime leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for greater sensitivity to the rights and needs of victims. This year’s observance took place April 2-8, with the theme “Strength. Resilience. Justice.”