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National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2013

New Challenges. New Solutions.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 24, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA -- Crime impacts tens of millions of Americans every year. It not only deprives victims of property and physical safety, but also shakes their sense of security and peace. Crime victimization has significant emotional, physical and financial consequences for victims, families, friends and communities.

Only 30 years ago, crime victims had no rights, access to compensation, or services to help rebuild their lives. They were often excluded from courtrooms and treated as an afterthought by the criminal justice system.

Through decades of advocacy and hard work, we have come a long way. Today, every state has enacted crimes victims’ rights laws and established crime victim compensation funds. More than 10,000 victim service agencies help victims throughout the nation. Every year, states and localities receive millions of federal dollars to support these services.

These resources help survivors of crime bravely face the task of reshaping their lives after victimization. Through participation in the criminal justice process, crime victims today routinely obtain access to counseling and other victim assistance services, secure restitution or forfeiture to provide financial recovery, and ensure that their voices are heard by judges as cases are resolved.

This month, the Department of Justice will join with people across the country to recognize National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 21-27), a time to honor local champions of crime victims’ rights. This year’s theme – New Challenges. New Solutions. – highlights the ongoing effort to provide needed services to crime victims of every kind. During this week we will honor victims and salute victim advocates and criminal justice professionals who fight for heighted awareness of victim’s issues.

On Wednesday, April 24 at 2 p.m., leaders from across Central Virginia honored National Crimes Victims’ Rights Week during a ceremony at Darden Towe Park in Charlottesville.

Leaders from the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Greene County, Louisa County, the Department of Homeland Security, The Shelter for Help in Emergency, the Charlottesville/Albemarle County Domestic Violence Advocate and the Sexual Assault Resource Agency joined together to commemorate the power and strength shown by victims of crime. We will release biodegradable balloons honoring those who have advanced the cause of victims’ rights in the areas of domestic violence and stalking, violent crimes, crimes against the elderly, human trafficking, white collar and financial fraud, sexual assault and crimes against children and for those victims who have yet to be identified.

This event was being sponsored by the victim/witness advocacy programs from: Albemarle County, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, the City of Charlottesville, Fluvanna County, Greene County, Homeland Security Investigation, and the Sexual Assault Resource Agency, the Shelter for Help in Emergency and the Albemarle/Charlottesville Domestic Violence Advocacy Program.

Tim Heaphy and Shirley Atkins

United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy, Shirley Atkins, and others, released balloons Thursday during an event to honor National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

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