The Utah Office for Victims of Crime (UOVC) with the help of U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC),will lead Utah in the annual observance of National Crime Victims Rights Week (NCVRW), April 10-16. NCVRW highlights the importance of providing needed services at the earliest stage of victimization to prevent further victimization and other involvement in the criminal justice system, thus addressing the cycle of violence and restoring hope for the future.
Every April, OVC promotes victims’ rights and honors crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s National Crime Victims Rights Week theme isServing Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope.UOVC will observe National Crime Victims Rights Week with special events and programs including statewide candlelight vigils, educational forums at universities, children’s coloring contest, and more events in local communities.
UOVC will also commemorate the advancement of victims’ rights by holding its 29thannual Crime Victims Conference at the Zermatt Resort in Midway Utah, April 21-22. The conference is targeted towards victim advocates, prosecutors, and law enforcement professionals. This year’s theme will be21stCentury Solutions: Enhancing Response to Victims.As part of the conference, OVC will honor individuals and organizations who have provided extraordinary contributions to their community in their efforts to serve victims of crime.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week honors and celebrates the achievements of the past30years in securing rights, protections and services for victims. The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), passed by Congress in 1984, created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports services for victims of all types of crime including assistance for homicide survivors, survivors of childhood sexual abuse and victims of human trafficking as well as rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs among other programs such as children’s justice centers, legal clinics, and victim advocacy programs within law enforcement and prosecution offices. VOCA also funds victim compensation programs that pay victims’ out-of-pocket expenses such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
“If victims are to trust that the criminal justice system will work for them, we must meet them where they are–physically, culturally, and emotionally,” said Joye E. Frist, director, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), U.S. Department of Justice. “When we take the time to focus on the victim in the aftermath of crime–to address their needs for safety and justice-we can begin to build trust and restore the hope of those victims and their communities. We all play a role in helping victims as they rebuild their lives.”
The Utah Office for Victims of Crime encourages widespread participation in the week’s events and in other victim-related observances throughout the year. For additional information about this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to assist victims in your community, please contact Tallie Viteri at801-297-2620or visithttp://www.crimevictim.utah.gov.