U.S. Department Of Justice To Mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
The rights of crime victims will be commemorated during the week of April 6-12 by the U.S. Department of Justice and in communities throughout the country.
According to the Department’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), in 1984, Congress passed the bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) which created a national fund to compensate victims for financial and other losses suffered as a result of crimes committed against them. In addition, VOCA money provides money to states in order to fund victim services.
The fund is not financed by taxpayers but through fines and penalties paid by offenders. The fund supports services such as rape crisis treatment, domestic violence programs and victim compensation for expenses, including counseling and lost wages. Every state now has victims’ rights laws and compensation programs and over 10,000 victim service agencies now help people throughout the country.
Middle District U.S. Attorney Peter Smith noted that, central Pennsylvania has one of the most active federal victim rights programs in the nation. It has provided direct services to 7552 victims of fraud schemes, child exploitation and violent crimes prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the past four years. In addition, 196,310 persons received notices of the status of cases in which they were victims. The Victim/Witness programs contact person in the United States Attorney’s Office is the Specialist Laurie Reiley. The Office’s Victim’s Rights and Asset Recovery Unit is headed by Assistant United States Attorney James Clancy.
More information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week can be obtained from the OVC website www.ovc.gov. Information concerning the Middle District of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Victim Rights program is available at the office’s website and by contacting the Victim/Witness Specialist at 717-221-4482.