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.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact the State’s Attorney’s Office at 618–833-7216.  Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion is also avail­able at www.victimsofcrime.org and www.ovw.usdoj.gov.