The Board of Clermont County Commissioners issued a proclamation designating the week of April 21 through April 27 as “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” in Clermont County, Ohio.
Stephanie Ross and Holly Cruey of the Victim Witness Division of the Clermont County Prosecutor’s Office accepted the Proclamation as Commissioner Uible announced, “6,273 citizens of Clermont County were victims of crime last year alone, now is the time to embrace new solutions and renew our commitment to bring awareness regarding the support available to Clermont County citizens who have been a victim of a crime.”
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an opportunity to intensify awareness about the challenges faced by crime victims and to highlight the long struggle to establish victims’ rights. This year’s national theme—New Challenges. New Solutions.—summons our nation to confront and remove obstacles to achieving those rights.
Only 30 years ago, crime victims had no rights, access to crime victim compensation, or services to help rebuild their lives.
They were often excluded from courtrooms, treated as an afterthought by the criminal justice system, and denied an opportunity to speak at sentencing.
Today, all states have enacted crime victims’ rights laws and established crime victim compensation funds. More than 10,000 victim service agencies help victims throughout the nation. Every year, states and localities receive millions of federal dollars to support these services.
However, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week reminds us that many challenges remain. Crime victims’ rights are not universal and are often not enforced. Only a small percentage of victims receive crime victim compensation, which is usually limited to victims of violent crime.
Advocates also face a host of new challenges as they strive to provide culturally competent services for increasingly diverse populations (e.g., seniors, teens, immigrant populations) and victims of newly prevalent crimes (e.g., trafficking and technology-related stalking and identity theft).
As funding sources decrease, providers must target their services even more strategically. For additional information about 2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and ideas on how to help crime victims, visit the Office for Victims of Crime website, www.ovc.gov.
Created due to request from local victims, the Clermont County Victim Assistance Office provides direct services to felony and misdemeanor crime victims in the criminal court system. Please call (513) 732-7979 to learn more about Victim Assistance services in Clermont County.