The Mary Byron Project Distinguished Fellow Award recognizes extraordinary contributions towards the elimination of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. We recognize the fact that progress in our work to end domestic violence requires both innovative service programs and effective advocacy from many sectors of our society.
Future recipients may be recognized from any sector of our society, including but not limited to government, the non-profit sector, the entertainment industry, the private sector and individuals whose work may cross one or more of these sectors. The Distinguished Fellow Award is selected and presented by the Mary Byron Project Board of Directors on an annual basis.
On December 4, 2004, the Mary Byron Project recognized then-Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as the first recipient of the Mary Byron Project Distinguished Fellow Award.
In 1994, Senator Biden took on the crusade of authoring and urging the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which combined tough law enforcement strategies with safeguards for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. His strong advocacy continues even now as Vice President of the United States.
On September 13th, 2012, the Mary Byron Project recognized Representative John Tilley for his legislative efforts and commitment to help prevent domestic violence by extending protection for people in dating relationships.
On March 14, 2012, Representative Tilley introduced House Bill 498. He said, "In my work with the Mary Byron Project, I've learned that the civil court process for Protective Orders can be an important tool in breaking the cycle of violence in a relationship."
He continued by stating, "As a legislator, it is my duty to ensure all Kentuckians enjoy a fundamental sense of well being. As a father, it is imperative."