National Crime Victim's Rights Week Gartherings Cancelled Due to COVID-19, USAO MDGA Honors Victims Virtually
MACON, Ga. – U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler joins the Department of Justice and communities nationwide in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, celebrating victims’ rights, protections and services. This year’s observance ends on Saturday, April 25. The theme is “Seek Justice | Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope.”
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. Traditional events were cancelled in the Middle District of Georgia due to COVID-19 sheltering-in-place restrictions. This year, many communities across the country are organizing virtual gatherings and online public awareness campaigns. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Georgia is participating in an online public awareness campaign on Twitter.
“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.”
“Because of the current restrictions due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, annual victim’s rights gatherings are cancelled. But, I want victims to know that protecting and seeking justice on their behalf will never cease, and is, in fact, our daily mission,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District. “I join Attorney General Barr in commending the victim advocates and public safety professionals who devote themselves to supporting and serving crime victims.”
“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. “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.”
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 (OVC), part of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, supports more than 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, which is made up of federal criminal fines, penalties and bond forfeitures.
This year, the annual 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.
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. Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.