2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week “new Challenges: New Solutions”
United States Attorney Dana J. Boente announced that in celebration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, an information fair will be held at the New Orleans Healing Center on Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The New Orleans Healing Center is located at 2371 St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans, LA. Federal and local agencies participating in the fair are the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service, the New Orleans Police Department, Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Representatives of each agency will be present to provide information about the rights of crime victims and to distribute written information to the public. There is no charge to attend the information fair. Video presentations concerning the theme, “New Challenges: New Solutions,” and an overview of the criminal justice system also will be presented.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week began on April 21, 2013. It honors victims of crime and celebrates our nation’s progress in advancing their rights. This year’s theme, “New Challenges: New Solutions,” celebrates the vision behind that progress and the goal of providing needed services to all victims of crime. The vision that launched the victims’ rights movement emerged more than 30 years ago. Then, as now, crime victims endured physical and emotional wounds, financial burdens, an often hostile criminal justice system, and an alarming public tendency to blame them for the crimes against them. Often victims were excluded from courtrooms, treated with disrespect by officials, and afforded few rights. Crime victims then began organizing to confront these challenges and to promote fair, compassionate, and respectful responses to victims of crime.
Since the 1980s, the nation has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protections, and services for victims of crime. Every state has enacted victims’ rights laws, and the state constitutions of 32 states have victims’ rights amendments. All states have victim compensation funds, and more than 10,000 victim service agencies have been established throughout the country. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice, supports a range of programs for crime victims, and seeks to extend those services to those who are underserved.
Despite the progress, there still is much to do. Victims’ rights are not universally recognized by law and often the laws recognizing those rights are not enforced vigorously. Only a fraction of victims receive crime victim compensation, which is usually limited to victims of violent crime. Less than 50 percent of crimes are reported, and fewer than 20 percent of victims receive needed services. The victim services system is fragmented and uncoordinated, and agencies are struggling to provide needed services in the face of budget cuts. Still, victim advocates have not lost their resolve and continue to advocate for novel solutions to the challenges of according victims their rights.