Moultrie Observer

Local News

April 9, 2012

Event to recognize victims' rights

MOULTRIE — The Colquitt County office of District Attorney David Miller will kick off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with a free luncheon from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Colquitt County Courthouse Annex, 2nd floor commissioners meeting room.

The public is invited. Please call Karen Ambrose to RSVP at 229-616-7476.

The National Crime Victims’ Rights Week actually begins Sunday, April 22. It’s set aside as a time to honor crime victims and the nation’s progress in advancing their rights, according to a press release from the DA’s office.

This year’s theme — “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” — celebrates the vision behind that progress and the ideal of serving all victims of crime.

The vision that launched the victims’ rights movement emerged more than 30 years ago, the press release said.

“Then — as now — crime victims endured physical and emotional wounds, costly financial burdens, an often hostile criminal justice system, and an alarming public tendency to blame them for the crimes against them,” it said. “Victims were often excluded from courtrooms, disrespected by officials, and afforded few rights. They began organizing to confront these challenges and to promote fair, compassionate, and respectful responses to victims of crime.”

Since the 1980s, the nation has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protections, and services for victims of crime, the press release continued. Every state has enacted victims’ rights laws, and 32 states have constitutional victims’ rights amendments. All states have victim compensation funds, and more than 10,000 victim service agencies have been established throughout the country. The Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, supports a range of programs for crime victims, and seeks to extend those services to those who are underserved.

“Yet there is still so much to do,” the release said. “Victims’ rights are not universal and are often not enforced. Only a fraction of victims receive crime victim compensation, which is usually limited to victims of violent crime. More than 50 percent of crimes are not reported, and fewer than 20 percent of victims receive needed services. The victim services system is fragmented and uncoordinated, and agencies are struggling to keep their doors open in the face of budget cuts.”

Yet victim advocates have not lost their resolve.

“Our commitment to ‘extend the vision’ and ‘reach every victim’ will overcome every challenge that confronts us now,” said Joye E. Frost, acting director, Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. “The vision, determination, and passion for justice that inspired our history will help us transform the future for every victim of crime.”

For additional information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to help victims in this community, please contact Karen Ambrose at the office of District Attorney J. David Miller, 229-616-7476.

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