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The St. Croix County District Attorneys’ Office, Victim/Witness Assistance Program announces National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 21-27. This week has been designated to recognize crime victims bring awareness to victim’s rights and acknowledge those who assist victims of crime.
During April 21-27, there will be national efforts promoting victims’ rights along remembering those affected by crime. There will be colored pinwheels up at the Government Center in honor of victims of crime throughout the week of April 21-27.
In 2012, the St. Croix County Victim/Witness Assistance Program assisted 1,220 victims of crime and 182 witnesses. Law makers have made remarkable progress for crime victims, despite many challenges. Only 30 years ago, crime victims had no rights, access to crime victim compensation, or services to help rebuild their lives. They were often excluded from courtrooms, treated as an afterthought by the criminal justice system, and denied an opportunity to speak at sentencing.
Yet though decades of advocacy and hard work, we have come a long way. Today, all states have enacted crime victims’ rights laws and established crime victim compensation funds. More than 10,000 victim service agencies help victims throughout the nation. Every year, states and localities receive millions of federal dollars to support these services. As funding sources decrease, providers must target their services even more strategically. Services, we must craft a new vision for reaching all victims of crime. We can achieve this only by substantially broadening our thinking, strategically planning our future, and creatively expanding our resources and tools.
For additional information about 2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to help victims in your community, please contact the St. Croix County Victim/Witness Assistance Program at (715) 386-4666. For more ideas on how to volunteer to help crime victims, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website, www.ovc.gov.