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When Crystal Judson Brame was shot almost three years ago in a Gig Harbor parking lot, her parents made a promise to her on her deathbed that they would do everything in their power to prevent another woman from ending up like her. Now that the U.S. Congress has passed the Crystal Judson Brame Domestic Violence Protocol Program, part of legislation that extends the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, the Judsons are beginning to understand just how much power there was in that promise. “It’s hard to believe it’s really happened,” Patti Judson said. She said she and her husband, Lane, watched C-SPAN as Congress passed the legislation that bears their daughter’s name. Now the Judsons have been honored for their tireless efforts to make women who are being abused by law enforcement officials safer. U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks were on hand last Thursday to present a special Congressional certificate of recognition to the Judsons. The protocol program Inslee, Dicks and other Washington state legislators inserted into the VAWA will make federal grants available to law enforcement agencies for training to deal with domestic violence and sexual harassment committed by their own employees. The monies will also fund positions for advocates for victims of domestic violence. Those positions will bear Crystal Judson Brame’s name in their titles. “Lane and Patti’s efforts are what made the difference,” Inslee said. “Their incredible diligence, their perseverance and dedication to their daughter was supremely effective.” The Judsons began their campaign with phone calls to their local and federal legislators. When Sen. Patty Murray returned their phone call two days after Crystal’s funeral, Lane Judson said, “That inspired me to keep going.” The Judsons became aware that in order to enact the kinds of changes they envisioned, they needed grassroots action, and they began a letter-writing campaign. “Not only people from the Puget Sound area signed those letters,” Lane Judson said. “People wrote from Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Alaska.” A representative from Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office testified to the effectiveness of the letters — her office branch received more than 2,500, he said, and many more arrived at Cantwell’s offices — a volume of mail the first-term senator had never seen before. The Judsons initially wanted to make domestic violence training tied to access to weapons and supplies, but security concerns trumped that possibility. Domestic violence of course, is a national, not a regional problem. The Centers for Disease Control estimates 5.3 million Americans are victims of domestic violence each year, the majority of them women. “This is an American scourge,” Inslee said. “It cannot be solved in the privacy of our own homes.” Now the Tacoma area, which has been scarred by the events of April 2003, is a leader in ending the problem, Inslee said. The Crystal Judson Brame Family Justice Center in Tacoma, which opened Dec. 12, will be the primary locus of that change.
Haley Judson (the name she now goes by), who turned 11 just two days after the ceremony, said the legislation had particular importance to her. “It means a lot to me because my mom had to go through a lot,” she said. “Other women — and men — shouldn’t go through this; this will let them know they’re not alone, we’ll always be there for them.”
Reach reporter Callie White at 853-9224 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judsons honored for efforts to fight domestic violence Legislation: Justice Center are result of a promise parents made to their daughter, 12/28/05, Peninsula Gateway, Gig Harbor Washington, byCallie White