Attorneys Generals Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Attorneys General Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Communities throughout the nation will come together to honor and support victims of crime during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) held on April 18-24. The theme for this year -- Crime Victims’ Rights: Fairness. Dignity. Respect. -- recalls the ideals that inspired the decades-long struggle of the crime victims’ rights movement.

Over the last 25 years, improvements have been made in the advancement of crime victims’ rights through legislation and awareness. The 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and other policies represent the progress that provides assistance to crime victims over the years. As of 2010, every state has passed victims’ rights laws, and 32 states have constitutional victims’ rights amendments. All states have victim compensation funds, and more than 10,000 victim assistance programs exist throughout the country. Such changes have made available resources and assistance available to crime victims as they rebuild their lives.

In light of this progress, more work remains to ensure crime victims’ rights are upheld. Practices occur within the judicial system that still impede the victim’s access to his or her rights. “The ideals we celebrate this week give hope to all Americans,” said Joye E. Frost, acting director of the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. “When a victim reports a crime because an officer treats her fairly, it enhances the safety of an entire community. When a court hears an impact statement or issues an order of restitution, victims learn the power of fairness, dignity, and respect. Yet when our nation falls short of these ideals, we fail victims and dishonor the progress we mark this week.”

The Office for Victims of Crime will launch the week in Washington, D.C., with its annual Candlelight Observance Ceremony on April 15, and its awards ceremony, April 16, to honor extraordinary individuals and programs that provide services to victims of crime.

For more information on events and to download the NCVR Resource Guide, please visit their Web site.

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