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THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA CELEBRATES 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT  -- NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK CELEBRATES PROGRESS, WORKS TOWARD FUTURE GOALS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2014

United States Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. announces that, in celebration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, an information fair will be held at Lakeside Shopping Mall on April 12, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.   Federal and local agencies participating in the fair are the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.  

The United States Attorney’s Office will also have an information tent at the Young Leadership Council’s Wednesday at the Square on April 9, 2014. 

There is no charge to attend these events.   Members of the public are encouraged to stop by these events to learn more about crime victims’ rights.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week runs from April 6-12, 2014 and celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the passage of the Victim of Crime Act.  This year’s theme – 30 Years:  Restoring the Balance of Justice – celebrates the accomplishments made and presents the opportunity to reinforce the nation’s long-term commitment to aiding crime victims.  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.

Victims’ rights advocates have scored remarkable victories over the last 30 years. But there is still a lot of work to be done. As we move forward, we are increasingly expanding our reach to previously underserved victim populations, including victims of color, American Indians and Alaska Natives, adults molested as children, victims of elder abuse, and LGBTQ victims.  Over three decades, VOCA pioneered support efforts for victims of once-hidden crimes, like domestic and sexual violence. Today, we are shining a spotlight on other abuses that have long been unreported and often not prosecuted—hate and bias crimes, bullying, and sex and labor trafficking, among others.

“Our commitment to reaching every victim of crime is stronger than ever,” said Joye E. Frost, Director, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice.  “For 30 years, VOCA has represented hope, healing, and justice.  Our message to all victims of crime is this: You are not alone.”

 

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