Crime Victims Rights Week starts April 18Published 8:05am Wednesday, April 14, 2010
CASSOPOLIS – April 18 marks the beginning of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to focus on victims of crime and celebrate our nation’s progress in serving them.
Communities throughout the nation will rally and support crime victims.
With the theme Crime Victims’ Rights: Fairness. Dignity. Respect., 2010 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will recall the ideals that inspired the decades-long struggle of the victims’ rights movement and challenge all Americans to honor victims’ rights.
Only a few decades ago, unfairness, indignities, and disrespect confronted many crime victims.
Victims of Crime in America, the 1984 report of the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, described a horrible justice system, focused on offenders and indifferent to victims’ needs.
In the 25 years since Victims of Crime in America was published, a grassroots movement began to combat such unfairness and launched decades of progress for victims of crime.
As of 2010, every state has passed victims’ rights laws, and 32 states have constitutional victims’ rights amendments.
All states have victim compensation funds and more than 10,000 victim assistance programs exist throughout the country.
Such changes have made victims participants, rather than bystanders, in the criminal justice system.
Community members are encouraged to join in the week’s activities and get involved in helping victims of crime.
This year also marks the third annual Book Cover Contest among area elementary schools.
Students compete to have their artistic portrayal of “Going to Court” included in the child-friendly booklet created by the Cass County Victim Unit.
This booklet helps child witnesses and victims as they prepare for their court proceedings.
Winners and finalists will be announced during the Cass County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m. at the 1899 courthouse.
The annual Flagpole Ceremony will be on Wednesday, April 21, at noon in front of the 2004 Law and Courts Building. This is a time for family members and the community to remember loved ones violently lost to crime.
The public is encouraged to attend all events.