Justice Department Observes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with Events Throughout the Country
Events Planned Throughout the Northern District of Iowa, Including the Presentation of the Law Enforcement Victim Services Award to Algona Police Officer
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – In observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13, 2019, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa is participating in multiple events throughout the state, including honoring an Algona, Iowa, police officer with the highest federal honor in Iowa for victim services by a law enforcement officer.
“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."
“It is a crucial to our criminal justice system that we hear the voices of crime victims,” said United States Attorney Peter E. Deegan, Jr. “The events of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week give law enforcement and the public the chance to show victims of crime that others stand with them, hear their voices, and recognize their courage.”
Each year in April, the Department of Justice and United States 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.
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 United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa will participate in and encourages the public to attend the following events:
- On April 7, there will be an opening ceremony as the kick-off event for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2019. The ceremony will be held at Horizons, 819 5th St. SE, Cedar Rapids at 1:00 P.M. This event will include a proclamation from Mayor Brad Hart declaring the week to honor victims of crime. The ceremony will feature the presentation of the Jennifer Clinton Domestic Violence Service Award. There will also be a keynote address given by a domestic violence survivor;
- On April 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 P.M. at Horizons, 819 5th St. SE, Cedar Rapids, there will be a Memorial Craft Night, where memorial boxes will be crafted to process trauma experience, honor loved ones lost, and share a safe space with others. Light refreshments and crafting materials will be provided;
- On April 11, there will be a candle-lighting ceremony and speakers as part of the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2019 Commemoration. The commemoration will occur at the Iowa Department of Corrections, 510 East 12th Street, in Des Moines, from 10:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.;
- On April 12, there will be a Candle Light Vigil at Horizons, 819 5th St. SE, Cedar Rapids, from 7:00 to 8:30 P.M. The annual Survivor's candlelight vigil offers families of victims of crime, survivors of violent crime, and loved ones to join together in memorial. The event will share a slideshow of the victims, offer a chance to light memorial candles, and celebrate the lives of those lost. The candlelight vigil will have light refreshments, music, and spoken poetry;
- On April 13, the Go the Distance for Crime Victims 5K run/walk will be held at Thomas Park in Marion. Registration begins at 7:00 A.M. More information is available at http://GotheDistance5k.com.
Also, on April 12, United States Attorney Deegan will present the Law Enforcement Victim Services Award to Officer Marcus Bacha of the Algona Police Department in a ceremony beginning at 1:00 P.M. at the Algona Police Department, 121 W State St., Algona. This award is presented to law enforcement officers in Iowa who go beyond the call of duty to help crime victims. It is the highest federal honor in Iowa for victim services by a law enforcement officer.
“When a teen girl with special needs disclosed she was being abused by a family member, Algona Police Officer Marc Bacha investigated the victim’s complaint, and after a great deal of hard work and determination, secured the evidence, that led to a conviction,” said United States Attorney Deegan. “The perpetrator received a 15 year prison sentence and the victim is moving on with her life. Officer Bacha’s willingness to hear and act on the victim’s cries for help is what makes him an outstanding choice for a Victims’ Rights Award.”
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 Victims’ Rights Week can be found at https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/. You may also contact the U.S. Attorney’s Victim Witness Program at (319)363-6333.