Suzanne McDaniel, victims rights pioneer, dies at 59
By Monica Rhor
Updated 09:56 a.m., Sunday, May 27, 2012
Suzanne McDaniel, a self-effacing crime victim advocate whose pioneering work in the field garnered national accolades and opened the door for better treatment of victims and witnesses, has died from pancreatic cancer. She was 59.
In 1976, at a time when the needs of victims and witnesses were often overlooked in the criminal justice system, McDaniel founded a victims assistance program in the Harris County District Attorney's Office. It was the first such unit in the state and only the second in the country.
"She did a wonderful job and made a national contribution to the victim-witness field," said former Harris County District Attorney Carol Vance, who hired McDaniel to head the newly formed program. "She helped get it on the map and helped people who were being neglected in the system."
McDaniel's role varied from connecting robbery victims with compensation and rape victims with counseling to helping set up victim assistance programs in other prosecutor's offices around Texas and around the country, Vance said.
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