For over 30 years, Atlanta Victim Assistance, Inc. has advocated for the rights of victims and witnesses of crime with compassion, dignity, and respect. Although we recognize the importance of the support AVA provides to those impacted by crime, we also notice that many of the people AVA serve every day are victims or witnesses of crimes that could have been prevented. Thus, our primary goal is to prevent people from becoming victims of senseless crimes in the first place.
Annually, AVA hosts fundraisers to obtain financial support and to celebrate individuals who are working to demonstrate that violence is indeed preventable. This year, AVA Board of Directors has elected to rename the annual award ceremony the “Barney L. Simms Violence Is Preventable (VIP) Awards” in honour of our past Chairman and dear friend, Barney L. Simms, who tragically became a victim of homicide himself. Mr. Simms was an influential advocate for the prevention of violence as well as victims' rights, and it seems only fitting that future recipients of the VIP awards be recognized in his honour.
Proceeds from this year’s event will help to continue our monthly Homicide Support Group meetings, publication of a quarterly newsletter, and to establish an emergency fund for families who are unprepared to make final arrangements for their loved ones.