FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2015
April 19th-25th Is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds is alerting the public that April 19th-25th is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – Every April, the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s NCVRW will be held April 19–25 and the theme is Engaging Communities.
Empowering Victims presents the opportunity to highlight the diversity of our communities, expand partnerships to serve victims of crime, enhance efforts to meet victims where they are, and empower crime victims as they pursue justice and recovery. The U.S. Department of Justice will kick off the week with OVC’s annual National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC to honor outstanding individuals and programs that serve victims of crime.
Only 30 years ago, crime victims had virtually no rights and no assistance. The criminal justice system often seemed indifferent to their needs. Victims were commonly excluded from courtrooms and denied the chance to speak at sentencing. They had no access to victim compensation or services to help rebuild their lives. There were few avenues to deal with their emotional and physical wounds. Victims were on their own to recover their health, security, and dignity. Today, the nation has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protections, and services for victims. Every state has enacted victims’ rights laws and all have victim compensation programs. More than 10,000 victim service agencies now help people throughout the country. In 1984, Congress passed the bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed not by taxpayers but by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports victim services, such as rape crisis and domestic violence programs and victim compensation programs that pay many of victims’ out-of-pocket expenses from the crime, such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
The Union County State’s Attorney’s Office encourages community members to report incidents of crime and promote awareness and public education about crime during the annual observance.