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Attorneys General Prepare for National Crime Victims Rights Week

Attorneys general across the country will be observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 21-27, by recognizing individuals and promoting programs that serve victims of crime. Thirty years ago, crime victims had no rights, access to crime victim compensation, or services. Today, all states have enacted crime victims’ rights laws and established crime victim compensation funds. More than 10,000 service agencies help victims throughout the nation. Every year, states and localities receive millions of federal dollars to support these services.

But National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a reminder that challenges remain. Crime victims’ rights are not universal and are not always enforced. Crime victim compensation is usually limited to victims of violent crime. A 2011 report titled, “Use of Victim Services Agencies by Victims of Serious Violent Crime” showed only 9 percent of violent crime victims received needed services in the 1993-2009 timeframe. As funding sources decrease, providers must target their services more strategically and factor in victims of newly-prevalent crimes such as trafficking and technology-related stalking and identify theft.

For more ideas on how to volunteer to help crime victims, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website, www.ovc.gov.

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Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General

Josh Shapiro was elected attorney general of Pennsylvania in November 2016.