Next week is National Crime Victims’ Week
Dear Editor,The week of April 21-27, 2002, victims of crime, victim advocates, criminal and juvenile justice officials, allied professionals, and community volunteers across the United States will observe the 22nd annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.In the aftermath of Sept. 11, this year’s theme, “Bringing Honor to Victims,” reflects the country’s heightened awareness of the harsh and tragic impact of crime on its victims, while underscoring the critical importance of helping all victims of crime rebuild their lives.For nearly three decades, the victims’ rights community has successfully brought crime victims’ concerns and issues to the forefront of America’s public policy. Today, every state and the federal government provides for the participation of victims in the criminal justice system, helping to make individuals and communities safer and making our justice system stronger. Crime victims’ laws have been passed at the federal, state and local levels giving victims legal rights, such as the right to be notified throughout the criminal justice process, the right to be consulted before plea agreement is entered; the right to be present during court proceedings; the right to speak at sentencing; and the right to restitution from a convicted offender.”The tragedy of Sept. 11 brings special meaning and purpose to this year’s observance,” said John Gillis, director of the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. “This week is about bringing honor to all crime victims by promoting a greater understanding to them and by applauding the countless volunteers and professionals who have dedicated their lives to seeing that those harmed by crime don’t fall through the cracks.”During this week, organizations that assist crime victims in the 9th Judicial District (Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco counties) join together to promote greater public awareness of the rights and needs of crime victims. This week provides us time to reflect upon the significant accomplishments of America’s victims’ right movement, and to pay tribute to the millions of Americans whose lives have been irrevocably marred by crime. Today more than 10,000 community and justice system and community based programs provide services and support to victims of crime. The 9th Judicial District Crime Victim Compensation Program is offered through the District Attorney’s Office’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program. It offers financial assistance to victims for crime-related expenses such as unpaid medical bills, mental health counseling, funeral costs and lost wages. In 2001, $377,863.40 was distributed to over 300 victims and their families. Those people were the victims of the following crimes, with number of cases in parentheses: assault (33), aggravated assault (2), burglary/criminal mischief (7), domestic assaults (88), sexual assault/domestic violence (5), domestic violence-kidnapping (1), menacing (3), child abuse (5), child sexual abuse – familial(14), child sexual abuse – non familial (8), sexual assault – rape (16), domestic violence – stalking (1), vehicular assault (3), vehicular homicide (2), vehicular homicide/alcohol related (3), other domestic violence (62), homicide (9), crimes against at-risk persons (1), other vehicular crimes (4), and other crimes (3).The Crime Victim Compensation Program is funded by monies paid by individuals convicted of crimes, in Garfield, Pitkin and Rio Blanco Counties. During this special observance the citizens of our Judicial District have the opportunity to take a stand against violence and take action to assist and support crime victims. We urge each and every one of you to make a commitment to your community to get involved, and support crime victims’ rights and services. Sincerely,Mac Myers, District Attorney; Marie Munday, Lynn Renick, Iris Copeland & the Crime Victim Compensation Board
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