Northam honors crime victims, victim advocates at Capitol
Governor Northam signed a proclamation recognizing Crime Victims’ Rights Week at an event sponsored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) in partnership with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and the Virginia Victim Assistance Network.
“Crime doesn’t just affect the person who is victimized, but their entire community,” said Governor Northam. “Our victim advocate organizations do essential work to provide support and services to everyone affected by crimes, and we honor them during Crime Victim Rights Week.”
Crime Victims’ Rights Week was first designated in 1981 as a way to call attention to the needs of crime victims and to recognize outstanding individuals and programs that serve those victims. Nationally, the week of April 8-14, 2018 has been designated as Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s theme, Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims, emphasizes the importance of inclusion in serving all victims and addresses how those dedicated to serving victims can better ensure that every crime victim has access to services and support.
“We are committed to providing a multidisciplinary response to best serve victims of crime by ensuring the diverse needs of communities throughout the Commonwealth are addressed through partnership with local service providers, community leaders, law enforcement, and public safety officials,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “Throughout my career I have witnessed the tremendous impact advocates have on the lives of victims and survivors and we thank them for their service.”
At the event, advocates Becky Sirles of the Virginia Victim Assistance Network and Kristi VanAudenhove of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance will highlight their organizations’ work and the importance of victims’ services.
DCJS is the state agency that provides funding, training, and technical assistance for local victim/witness programs, sexual assault and domestic violence agencies, and other organizations serving victims of crime. DCJS provides about $67 million in state and federal funds to support 462 crime victim assistance projects throughout Virginia. Last year, DCJS grant awards helped fund 292 Victim/Witness advocates who provided services to 61,533 crime victims.