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Sullivan Presents Award for Pro Bono Service to Petersburg Attorney

Anchorage, Alaska – Attorney General Dan Sullivan today presented the first annual Attorney General’s Award for Pro Bono Service to John Hoag, a Petersburg attorney, for his dedication to providing volunteer legal representation to victims of domestic violence.

“Providing legal representation to victims is a key factor in bringing down the epidemic levels of domestic violence and sexual assault and ensuring that victims can escape abusive and dangerous situations,” said Sullivan.  “With John’s dedication to pro bono on behalf of victims, he is making an outsize contribution to our fight against domestic violence.”

Hoag, whose firm has offices in Petersburg and in Oregon, first began taking pro bono cases in 2007 from the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault’s Pro Bono Project, which connects victims with volunteer attorneys across the state.  Since then, Hoag has taken eight pro bono cases for clients across Southeast Alaska, including one he successfully pursued all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court.

“John's litigation and negotiation expertise has been a wonderful asset to our clients,” said Christine McLeod Pate, supervising attorney for the ANDVSA Pro Bono Project.  “He is never afraid to jump in and try a new area of the law.  He cannot say no.  He is a pro bono director's dream-come-true.”

Staff from the domestic violence shelter in Petersburg, WAVE (Women’s Aid in Violent Emergencies), had high praise for Hoag.

“John is compassionate, comprehensive, and cuts to the chase,” said WAVE board member and advocate Kathy Bracken.  “He is very professional, yet he manages to console and put victims at ease.  They leave our office knowing he will do everything in his power to help them.”

The award was announced at a kick-off event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which began today.  The event, hosted by AWAIC (Alaska Women’s Aid in Crisis), a domestic violence shelter in Anchorage, featured remarks by a domestic violence survivor, as well as presentations by representatives of nonprofit organizations, the military, and municipal, state and federal government.

The event took place a day after the results of the first-ever statewide survey of victimization among Alaskan women were released.  The survey, conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, showed that about half of women surveyed had experienced an incident of domestic violence or sexual assault in their lifetimes.

Lowering the rates of domestic violence and sexual assault is a top priority of the Parnell administration.  To achieve that goal, the administration is implementing a comprehensive plan to meet victims’ needs, raise public awareness, and deter and punish offenders.

The plan is available on the Department of Law website at: http://www.law.state.ak.us/pdf/civil/10yrPlan.pdf.

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