The Catholic University of America

Oct. 8, 2014

Social Work Graduate Student Receives Award

  Indira Henard
  Indira Henard

Indira Henard, a master’s student at Catholic University’s National Catholic School of Social Service, was selected as this year’s recipient of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ (ACJS) Impact Award for her work on sexual assault victims’ rights legislation in 2014.

Henard, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center’s (DCRCC) director of advocacy, is often on Capitol Hill lobbying for the rights of her clients, or testifying in court. A lot of her work involves legislation, such as the Sexual Assault Victims Rights Amendment Act (SAVRAA), which promises increased fairness and respect for victims of sexual assault.

As the award recipient, Henard will give the keynote address at ACJS’s annual conference to be held in Orlando in March 2015.

Henard has always had a passion for service. She grew up in Chicago, where her father is a Baptist minister and her mother is a social worker.

Henard, who served as an aide to then Sen. Barack Obama, went about becoming a social worker in an unconventional but advantageous way, she explains. She was a political science and legal studies — not social work — major in her undergraduate days.

“I got to have a lot of advantages and opportunities that someone without that degree doesn’t usually have,” Henard said.

Now, she thinks it is important to learn the foundations of the profession to bring the past six years of her work with DCRCC full circle. Henard was drawn to Catholic University because of its mission.

“One of the things I liked about Catholic is that it’s rooted in a strong faith tradition.” she said, “I’ve always heard wonderful things about CUA.”

The award honors an individual who has made a contribution to the field of victimology, victims’ rights, or victim services. SAVRAA aims to provide confidentiality protection of communication between victims and advocates, assure faster processing of rape kits, and make local police departments more accountable in handling sexual assault cases and citizen complaints, among other things.

At DCRCC, she has had the opportunity to do both clinical and administrative work. She finds the macro level of the job fascinating and hopes one day she will run a social work agency.

Reflecting on the upcoming conference, Henard says this is a chance for her to share her work on a national level and hopefully to reach and help more people.

“It’s great to be recognized on a national level and I also recognize that there’s still so much that needs to be done,” she said.



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