U.S. Attorney’s Office Commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Sexual Assault Awareness Month
INDIANAPOLIS – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana joins survivors, advocates, and communities nationwide in recommitting ourselves to this work: to believing survivors, strengthening prevention and education efforts, and holding offenders accountable.
The week of April 24 – 30 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The U.S. Attorney’s Office recognizes the importance of not only finding justice for crime victims in the courtroom but enforcing victims’ rights and providing victims with access to the resources and services that can help them heal. We want to celebrate the progress achieved and raise awareness of victims’ rights and services. The U.S. Attorney’s Office stands with those whose lives have been forever altered by crime and recognizes those in the district who assist the victims of crimes heal.
Today, at a ceremony held at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers recognized the following individuals and groups for their outstanding commitment to serving crime victims and pursuing excellence in victim services. U.S. Attorney Myers presented a plaque to each group and individual for their contribution to this effort.
- Detective David McDaniel, ATF Task Force Officer, IMPD
- IMPD Victim Assistance Unit
- IMPD Chaplain’s Office
- FBI Special Agent Andrew Willman
- IMPD Sergeant Linda Jackson
- Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina Korobov
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004 (CVRA) increased victim involvement in the federal criminal justice system by guaranteeing them certain basic rights, such as the right to be informed of any court proceedings or parole proceedings, the right to speak at public court proceedings, and the right to confer with the government attorney assigned to their case. But the most fundamental right that it enumerated was the “right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.” The CVRA helped restore power to survivors who often feel powerless in the aftermath of a serious crime.
More information can be found at the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2022 (VAWA 2022), which treats sexual assault as the serious violation it is and creates new programs and initiatives that provide survivors of sexual violence with increased access to services and justice
“Sexual violence comes in many forms and its effects are far reaching,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “I am so grateful for the passage of the VAWA 2022 and the positive impact it will have in caring for survivors. My office is committed to this effort and will hold offenders accountable for their actions, including those that use the online world to commit their crimes. As we fight on behalf of those who have been impacted by crime, it is fitting to recognize exemplary leaders and teams who bring justice and support to victims every day. Each of these awardees have made lasting contributions to bringing healing to victims and safety to our communities.”
The Southern District of Indiana is a national leader in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes against children. For example, in fiscal year 2019, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted.
If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced sexual violence, you are not alone and there are many services available to help, including the Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), and the StrongHearts Native Helpline, 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483). In addition, you can find a local resources page on OVW’s website, which lists state sexual assault coalitions that can direct you to local resources and services, as well as opportunities to get involved.