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April 13, 2011

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


U. S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE OBSERVES NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- This week, April 10-16, 2011, is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s theme, “Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past,” recognizes that every day, crime victims bravely face the task of reshaping their lives after victimization. It also highlights the importance of honoring the victims, victim advocates, and criminal justice professionals who have fought for heightened awareness of victims’ issues and secured increased participation of victims in the criminal justice process.

Three separate luncheons are being held across the district this week in commemoration of crime victims. The first luncheon was held yesterday in Chattanooga. Today’s luncheon in Knoxville will be at Calhoun’s on the River. Finally, a third luncheon will be held at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City on Thursday. All three luncheons have become annual events.

The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), enacted in 2004, grants victims in federal criminal proceedings certain enforceable rights, including the right to be reasonably heard at public court proceedings and to receive full and timely restitution as provided by law. The Eastern District of Tennessee has dedicated victim-witness personnel that serve federal crime victims across the District’s 41 counties. Victims are notified of significant case events through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Victim Notification System (VNS). Such notice enables victims to participate in court proceedings and make their voices heard. According to DOJ statistics, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices provided notice of almost 8 million case events, including notices regarding criminal charges filed, plea hearings, bond hearings and sentencing hearings.

Notification of significant case events leads to increased victim participation in court proceedings. In FY 2010, victim-witness personnel in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices accompanied over 19,000 victims to court hearings and trials. Court accompaniment helps ensure that victim participation in court proceedings is meaningful as victim-witness personnel can answer questions and explain the federal judicial process.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to assisting victims of federal crimes, ensuring they are afforded their rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, protecting them from further harm, and helping them reshape their futures,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian. “This week is a time to raise awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims, the challenges victims face in the recovery process, and the positive impact of those who provide services and support to victims.”

Further information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is available at http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/. Visit the U.S. Attorney’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/tne for more information on victims’ rights in the federal system.

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