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Janelle Melohn, Crime Victim Assistance Division Director
515-281-5044, janelle.melohn@iowa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 17, 2012

Advocates across Iowa are “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim”

2012 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: April 22-28

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which begins Sunday, is a time to honor crime victims and our nation’s progress in advancing their rights.  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 Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Office of the Attorney General has opened an informational kiosk on display at the Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines now through April 28.
“Iowa has a long record of assisting crime victims and standing up for their rights, not just a record of punishing and rehabilitating criminals.  Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim is a vision we share in this office as we take time to pay homage to victims of crime across the state and across the country,” said Attorney General Tom Miller.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week observances begin this Friday, April 20, in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Justice’s annual Attorney General’s National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony.  The ceremony honors outstanding individuals and programs that serve victims of crime. Across Iowa, agencies and programs working with victims will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights week, from April 22–April 28, with special events and programs.

“Our commitment to ‘extend the vision’ and ‘reach every victim’ will overcome every challenge that confronts us now,” said Joye E. Frost, Acting Director for the Office for Victims of Crime at the 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.”

The vision that launched the victims’ rights movement emerged more than 30 years ago. 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 committed against them.  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.  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. 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.

Each community can encourage its members to participate in the week’s events and find ways to help victims of crime.

For additional information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to help victims anywhere in Iowa, contact the Crime Victim Assistance Division at 1-800-373-5044 or 515-281-5044, or visit the website at http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/helping_victims/index.html.  For more ideas on how to volunteer, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website: www.crimevictims.gov.

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"Reaching Every Victim”

2012 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: April 22-28

 

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – Sunday begins National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to honor crime victims and our nation’s progress in advancing their rights.  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 Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Office of the Attorney General has opened an informational kiosk on display at the Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines now through April 28.


“Iowa has a long record of assisting crime victims and standing up for their rights, not just a record of punishing and rehabilitating criminals.  Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim is a vision we share in this office as we take time to pay homage to victims of crime across the state and across the country,” said Attorney General Tom Miller.


National Crime Victims’ Rights Week observances begin this Friday, April 20, in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Justice’s annual Attorney General’s National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony.  The ceremony honors outstanding individuals and programs that serve victims of crime. Across Iowa, agencies and programs working with victims will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights week, from April 22–April 28, with special events and programs.


“Our commitment to ‘extend the vision’ and ‘reach every victim’ will overcome every challenge that confronts us now,” said Joye E. Frost, Acting Director for the Office for Victims of Crime at the 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.”


The vision that launched the victims’ rights movement emerged more than 30 years ago. 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 committed against them.  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.  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. 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.


Each community can encourage its members to participate in the week’s events and find ways to help victims of crime.


For additional information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to help victims anywhere in Iowa, contact the Crime Victim Assistance Division at 1-800-373-5044 or 515-281-5044, or visit the website at http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/helping_victims/index.html.  For more ideas on how to volunteer, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website: www.crimevictims.gov.

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