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Press Release

Justice Department Commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department joined communities across the nation this week for the 52nd commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Department leaders and staff, victim advocates and allied professionals, and crime survivors together marked decades of progress in improving the legal standing of crime victims and expanding access to victim services.

The Office for Victims of Crime in the department’s Office of Justice Programs led the observance, which included a candlelight vigil on the National Mall and a survivor voices symposium. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta also highlighted the department’s commitment to crime victims at an event hosted by the Office on Violence Against Women marking National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, where she featured guidance to law enforcement on responding to sexual assault and domestic violence. She also addressed a summit on environmental crimes co-hosted by the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the Environmental Protection Agency, describing the update of the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance as a department commitment to “taking a victim-centered, trauma-informed, culturally responsive approach to advancing criminal justice” and emphasizing the need to support survivors of environmental crimes. Before her remarks, the Associate Attorney General met with three survivors of environmental offenses.

“National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the importance of making the justice system work for survivors of crime,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “We are grateful for the countless victims who have come forward to lend their voices to the vital project of reform and to creating a more just and humane society.”

“Many people think justice equals a conviction or an arrest, but for survivors, justice sometimes means being heard and believed,” said Director Kristina Rose of the Office for Victims of Crimes (OVC). “It means reading a victim impact statement in court. It means being treated with dignity and respect. Justice is about options and choices and opportunities to give voice to one’s experience. During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we honor those voices.”

The candlelight vigil on Wednesday night featured three speakers who recounted their experiences as crime victims, underscoring this year’s theme — “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.” Anna Nasset, a stalking survivor who runs a victim services organization called Stand Up Resources; Jerome Brown, statewide training director of the SNUG Outreach Program at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services; and Roberta Roper, a long-time victim rights champion who founded what is now the Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, all gave testimony to the impact of victims’ voices. Singer-songwriter Kelly Jackson of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians sang Gaawiin Niiwii Izhaasiin (I Don't Want to Go), her tribute to tribal children and youth who were traumatized by the boarding school experience.

On Thursday, OVC Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon and Director Rose convened seven survivors for a symposium on the role of survivors in advancing criminal justice reform. Participants discussed strategies for elevating victims’ voices in conversations about responses to gun violence, alternatives to incarceration and long sentences. Federal leaders, criminal justice professionals and victim advocates were on hand for the discussion.

In addition to events held this week in the nation’s capital, Director Rose participated in a commemoration organized by the Los Angeles District Attorney Bureau of Victim Services and traveled to Albuquerque for the launch of the Youth Advocacy Corps, an OVC-funded program that provides pathways to victim service and advocacy for marginalized youth. In addition, U.S. Attorneys across the country participated in commemorative activities in their districts, and other Department components, including the FBI, honored survivors and victim-serving professionals.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week has been observed at the federal level since 1981. Through Victims of Crime Act funding, the OVC supports thousands of local victim assistance programs — which served nearly over 9.7 million new and returning crime victims in fiscal year 2022 — and victim compensation programs in every state and territory and the District of Columbia.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta delivers remarks at the EPA’s Environmental Crimes Event
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta Delivers Remarks at the EPA’s Environmental Crimes Event
OVC Director Kristina Rose speaking at the NCVRW Candlelight Vigil
OVC Director Kristina Rose speaking at the NCVRW Candlelight Vigil


Updated April 28, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-497