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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 20, 2020

Department Of Justice Commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Knoxville, Tenn. – The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime will join communities nationwide in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and celebrating victims’ rights, protections and services.  This year’s observance takes place April 19-25 and features the theme, “Seek Justice| Ensure Victims' Rights | Inspire Hope.”

The National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony will be postponed until a time when we can honor this year’s award recipients in person.  During the ceremony, OVC will present awards recognizing individuals and organizations from across the nation for their outstanding service on behalf of crime victims.  The awardees will be selected from public nominations in 11 categories, including federal service, special courage, public policy and victim services.  Visit www.ovc.gov/gallery to learn more about past recipients.

“Every year, millions of Americans suffer the shock and trauma of criminal victimization, affecting their well-being and sense of security and dignity,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “To these victims, we affirm our unwavering commitment to supporting them in their hour of need.  We also commend the thousands of victim advocates and public safety professionals who labor tirelessly to secure victims’ rights and support survivors.”

“While we have made tremendous progress driving down crime and violence across the country, far too many Americans continue to suffer the pain and loss of criminal victimization,” said Katharine T. Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs, which oversees OVC.  “This week, we stand by these survivors and their families, and we pledge our ongoing support to the countless men and women who serve them with such extraordinary skill and compassion.”

“The U.S. Attorney’s office ensures year-round that victims of crime are protected and have equal, constitutional rights on the same level as those accused and convicted of crimes.  If you are the victim of any violent or white collar crimes, it is normal to feel frightened, helpless, and vulnerable. Remember you are not alone.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office is here to help,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.  More information about Crime Victims’ Rights Week can be found at https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw. You may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Tennessee’s Victim Witness Program at 423-385-1341.

Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, putting crime victims' rights, needs and concerns in a prominent spot on the American agenda.  He also established the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime, which laid the groundwork for a national network of services and legal safeguards for crime victims.  President Trump and his administration have implemented historic levels of support for victim assistance and victim compensation.

Some 3.3 million Americans age 12 and older were victims of violent crime in 2018, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.  The Office for Victims of Crime, part of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, supports over 7,000 local victim assistance programs and victim compensation programs in every state and U.S. territory.  Funds for these programs come from the Crime Victims Fund, comprises of federal criminal fines, penalties and bond forfeitures.

During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, victim advocacy organizations, community groups and state, local and tribal agencies traditionally host rallies, candlelight vigils and other events to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services.  This year, many communities are organizing virtual gatherings, and online public awareness campaigns.

“Crime victims deserve to know that they have the encouragement and support of the American people,” said OVC Director Jessica E. Hart.  “I hope that citizens throughout the nation will take the opportunity this week to remember all victims of crime and their heroic stories of survival.  I encourage everyone to find meaningful ways to express their appreciation to the many committed and compassionate service providers across the country who work tirelessly supporting these survivors.”

For more information on how to create your own public campaigns to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights online and at events throughout the year, please visit: https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2020/overview.html

 

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Rachelle Barnes Public Information Officer (865) 545-4167
Updated April 20, 2020