Justice Department Observes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with Events Throughout the Country
RALEIGH – In observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13, 2019, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina will host a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Archives and History/State Library Building, located at 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601. This event is open to the public. For more information, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-ednc/crime-victims-rights-week-2019.
This year’s event will feature a gripping presentation by victims of federal crimes impacted by the opioid epidemic. The keynote speakers, Ms. Jennifer Powell and Ms. Laura Parrish, were each compelled to speak out about opioid abuse and the opioid/heroin epidemic after losing a family member to a drug overdose. Ms. Powell lost her youngest sister on July 1, 2015, to a drug overdose. Ms. Parrish’s son Nick struggled with opiate addiction and died of a fentanyl overdose in April 2016. Both speakers are members of the United States Attorney’s Heroin Education Action Team in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
The shared mission of United States Attorneys’ Heroin Education Action Teams (HEAT), here in Eastern North Carolina, in Kentucky, and across the country, is to reduce the growing harm to families and communities caused by heroin/opiate abuse by increasing understanding of this epidemic. HEAT is a partnership between United States Attorneys’ Offices and families who have lost a loved one to opiate overdose. These courageous moms, dads, brothers, sisters and children share their story in order to help others avoid the grief of losing a family member from this dangerous epidemic.
“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.”
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., stated, “The harms caused to our communities by the opioid epidemic are devastating, far-reaching, and in many cases irreversible. Through the United States Attorney’s Heroin Education Action Team (HEAT), we are committed to educating our communities about heroin/opiate abuse. This is a crisis for which prevention vastly expands the reach of the net already cast by prosecuting those who distribute opioids and demonstrate a reckless disregard for human life and the safety of our communities. As we commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a mother’s heartfelt message to me was ‘The most important words anyone can say to me, is calling my son’s name, and remembering him’ signifying the importance of the week. During the ceremony this coming Tuesday, victim advocates, law enforcement, allied professionals, and the community will stand together to remember and honor all victims of crime.”
Each year in April, the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week nationwide by taking time to honor victims of crime and those who advocate on their behalf. In addition, the Justice Department and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices organize events to honor the victims and advocates, as well as bring awareness to services available to victims of crime. This year’s observance takes place April 7-13, with the theme: Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future. This year’s theme encourages commemoration, honor, and respect toward the crime victim advocates, allied professionals, and selfless volunteers who have courageously worked for increased rights for crime victims. The theme also invites us to look toward a future of inclusive, accessible, and innovative resources and services for survivors.
The U.S. Department of Justice 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.
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 each year. 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 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/. You may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina’s Victim Witness Program at (919) 856-4530.
This year’s program in Raleigh is sponsored by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, members of the Interagency Council, the City of Durham Police Department, Raleigh Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, H.A.L.O.S., North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, North Carolina Department of Public Safety, North Carolina National Guard, North Carolina Victim Assistance Network, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.