CHARLESTON – Senator Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, has been named the 2020 Visionary Voice Award recipient from the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services.
Senator Woelfel was presented the award in recognition of his efforts to assist sexual assault victims with seeking relief from unsafe situations, and for being a champion of justice for all victims.
Since his election to the West Virginia Senate in 2014, Senator Woelfel has been the lead sponsor of a number of bills that have been designed to increase the rights of sexual assault victims and provide training and assistance for law enforcement dealing with these cases. This year, Senate Bill 434, Requiring training for law-enforcement officers responsible for investigating crimes of sexual assault, passed the Senate unanimously.
In 2020, Senator Woelfel was a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 125, which prohibited a victim of sexual assault from being subjected to invasive physical examinations, and in 2019, he was the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 72, which created the Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights.
Senator Woelfel was presented with the award in Charleston in March. Ashley Carpenter, Executive Director, Sexual Assault Help Center; Nancy Hoffman, State Coordinator, WV Foundation for Rape Information Center; and Michele McCord, Executive Director, HOPE, Inc., were on hand to mark the occasion.
“This is not a topic that people want to talk about, but one that unfortunately will impact 1 in 6 women in our state and a significant number of men a well,” Hoffman said. “We are so fortunate in West Virginia to have a legislature in recent years that has recognized sexual assault as the public health crisis that it is, and to have the foresight of leaders like Senator Woelfel in drafting legislation and policies to both address sexual violence and help prevent it.”
Senator Woelfel said he is humbled to receive this award.
“West Virginia is leading the country in our respect for, and treatment of our victims of sexual abuse and exploitation,” Senator Woelfel said.