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Attorney General Mark Herring commemorates Crime Victims’ Rights Week

mark herringThis week, Attorney General Mark Herring will commemorate Crime Victims’ Rights Week by bringing awareness to those who have suffered from crime and highlighting services for victims offered by the Office of the Attorney General. This year’s theme, Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims. sheds light on the critical role communities play providing victims with the support they need to pursue justice and recovery.

As part of Crime Victims’ Rights week, Attorney General Herring will join Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Brian Moran, public safety officials and victims’ advocacy groups for a wreath ceremonytomorrow, Wednesday April 22 at 10:30 a.m. at the Bell Tower in Capitol Square. The wreath ceremony will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the 1994 Victims’ Bill of Rights and highlight the critical role of victim empowerment.

“Victims deserve to be heard, deserve justice and deserve to feel safe again,” said Attorney General Herring. “Each time someone suffers from a crime their lives are changed forever. By raising awareness and promoting critical resources, we can help restore victims’ livelihood and seek justice against those who perpetrate crimes. We will never waver in our commitment to fighting on behalf of victims whose bravery, will power and strength have served as a powerful catalyst for the victims’ rights movement.”

Attorney General Herring also participated in the Start by Believing pledge to raise awareness and improve the public response to sexual violence. On his card, Attorney General Herring wrote, “I believe because victims need to be supported the moment they come forward. No one should ever feel further victimized by a response that is inadequate or judgmental or suspicious.”

Representatives from the Office of the Attorney General will also be participating in events across the Commonwealth to spread the word about victims’ resources:

  • Victims’ Rights Day – Norfolk, Monday April 20
  • Start by Believing Pledge Event – Richmond, Tuesday April 21
  • Victims’ Appeal Process Panel – Richmond, Tuesday April 21
  • Webinar for Virginia Alliance of Information & Referral Systems titled, “Sexual & Domestic Violence in Later Life: Identification & Resources” – Thursday April 23
  • 5th Annual Clothesline Project – Bristol, Saturday April 25

Some of Virginia’s programs and legislation to help victims include:

Victim Notification ProgramEnsures victims’ right to be informed of any appeal, habeas corpus proceeding or civil commitment, including the date, time and place of any hearing and the court’s decision. The OAG also offers a comprehensive explanation of the appellate process.

Identity Theft Passport Program – Helps victims of identity theft acquire an Attorney General’s Identity Theft Passport, which provides them with identification that can be used to show they are the victim of an identity crime.  The passport ensures that individuals cannot use stolen information to obtain a driver’s license or state identification.

Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) Helps keep a victim’s new address confidential from their abuser. The ACP provides a substitute address for receiving mail and use in public records which has no relation to a victim’s actual address. The ACP also provides a confidential mail forwarding service to participants in the program.

Human Trafficking Awareness CampaignRaises awareness in Virginia of human trafficking and resources available to victims through billboards and signs on major highways across the Commonwealth, along with signage at every Virginia rest area. The signs encourage victims or those with information about possible human trafficking to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline.

Victim-Focused Legislation and Initiatives – Several of Attorney Generals Mark Herring’s initiatives provide law enforcement with additional training for domestic violence and ensure greater protections are on the side of victims. HB 2120 protects victims of domestic violence by denying bail for individuals charged with felony strangulation, and lethality assessment protocol training is facilitated by OAG to help law enforcement prevent further victimization.