U.S. Attorney’s Office Honors Crime Victims and Survivors At Event Marking National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
U.S. Attorney Liu Leads Moment of Silence and Tributes
WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia paid tribute today with a Moment of Silence at a ceremony honoring crime victims and survivors for their remarkable courage, determination and sacrifice.
At mid-afternoon, U.S. Attorney Liu, Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessio D. Evangelista, and dozens of attorneys, victim advocates and support personnel gathered outside the office for a Moment of Silence, followed by the reading of first names of 61 victims and survivors whose experiences inspired all those seeking justice.
The event was timed with the annual observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s national theme, “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future,” celebrates the progress made over the decades and looks to a future of crime victim services that are even more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed.
“We gathered this afternoon to take a brief moment out of our busy day to honor the crime victims and survivors we work so hard to serve,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “Those of us who work for our Office come to this building most days with some sense of anticipation, commitment or even pride. Yet for crime victims, this building is the last place they want to be – and we hope that the work that we do helps these victims get through the worst of days. For crime victims, this process has never been easy. But the passage of crime victims’ rights legislation has given victims a powerful voice and mandated that they are not forgotten as the case jackets pile up on our desks. So it is fitting that we step away from our desks today – as we do every April – to take a moment to recognize the victims and survivors who inspire and motivate us. “
Today’s event was developed and organized by the Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Members of the Unit provide essential services and support to victims and witnesses, such as making referrals for counseling and other services, addressing safety concerns, arranging travel, and accompanying victims to court proceedings. The Unit also notifies victims of their rights and provides information regarding significant case events, such as the filing of charges, plea hearings, trials and sentencing hearings.
Each year in April, the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, within the Office of Justice Programs, leads communities across the country in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in 1981 to bring greater sensitivity to the needs and rights of victims of crime. The Justice Department will host the Office for Victims of Crime’s annual National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 2019, to honor outstanding individuals and programs that serve victims of crime.
“Victims of crime deserve justice. This Department works every day to help them recover and to find, prosecute, and convict those who have done them harm,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “During this National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we pause to remember the millions of Americans who have been victims of crime and we thank public servants who have served them in especially heroic ways. This week the men and women of the Department recommit ourselves once again to ensuring that crime victims continue to have a voice in our legal system, to securing justice for them, and to preventing other Americans from suffering what they have endured.”
The Office of Justice Programs provides innovative leadership to federal, state, local, and tribal justice systems, by disseminating state-of-the art knowledge and practices across America, and providing grants for the implementation of these crime-fighting strategies. Because most of the responsibility for crime control and prevention falls to law enforcement officers in states, cities, and neighborhoods, the federal government can be effective in these areas only to the extent that it can enter into partnerships with these officers. More information about the Office of Justice Programs and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov. More information about Crime Victim’s Rights Week can be found at https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/.
Additional information about the Victim Witness Assistance Unit is available at https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/victim-witness-assistance-unit