April 22-28 is national Crime Victims’ Rights Week — a time to learn about victimization, reflect on the cost of crime to our society, and promote laws, policies and programs to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.
The week’s theme, “Victims’ Rights: Every Victim. Every Time.,” envisions a strengthened national commitment to the nearly 24 million Americans harmed by crime each year.
During the past three decades, the United States has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protections and services for victims of crime. Every state has enacted victims rights laws: law enforcement agencies give victims greater protection; and more than 10,000 victim assistance programs have been established throughout the country.
Every state has a crime victim compensation fund, and federal laws, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, to help protect victims and fund needed services.
Yet many crime victims have not experienced the promise of such progress. Only a fraction of victims report the crimes against them and participate in the criminal justice system. Victims’ rights vary from state to state. Not all protections are enforced. Services are sometimes not available, or they may not meet the physical, financial and psychological needs of victims or their families.
Particularly vulnerable populations — the elderly, persons with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities or residents of rural areas — may not receive the support they need to rebuild their lives.
Effingham County will commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with a workshop sponsored by Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program Inc., Effingham County Domestic Violence Task Force and Parent and Child Family Counseling of Union Mission entitled “The Dynamics of Domestic Violence” with Derek Marchman to be held on Thursday at the Effingham County Administrative Complex and a Jeans for Justice Fundraising Campaign on Friday. Funds contributed will go to provide services for victims through the Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program Inc.
Community members are encouraged to join in the week’s activities and get involved in helping victims of crime. For additional information about the events or how to serve victims, please contact Effingham County Victim Witness Assistance Program Inc. at 754-7460 or visit the Web site at www.effga.com/evwap.