Virginia Celebrates National Crime Victims' Rights Week

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

April 13, 2005

This week, April 10th - 16th, marks the silver anniversary of the National Crime Victim's Rights Week, and several jurisdictions across the Commonwealth are raising awareness to spread its message.

The organizers of special week want us never to forget the victim of crimes, or their families. This year's message is "Justice Isn't Served Until Crime Victims Are" which emphasizes the importance of providing support and assistance.

In an effort to provide support and assistance, Virginia will join the nation in observing the 25th anniversary of this important week, by drawing attention to the victims and survivors of crime.

Here in Albemarle County, police officers will be doing the same thing, just differently.

"The police department in conjunction with several other agencies received a grant from the Department of Justice to make people more aware that crime victims do have rights," said Corporal Jerry Utz of the Albemarle County Police Department.

The grant given to Albemarle County totals $4,515 and though it seems to be small for such a big national campaign, officers we spoke to say its impact is worth a whole lot more.

"Very often, victims of crimes do not realize they have rights, so this makes them aware they do have rights. It also makes them aware of which resources they have if they are victims of crime," added Cpl Utz.

Helping to spread the message is a four-page layout in the family issue of The Hook newspaper, and a 30-second commercial airing on local television this week.

If you find yourself a victim no mater how big or small, and are unsure if you have rights, Cpl Utz has some advice: "Anyone who is a witness to a crime, a victim to a crime, or has a family member who is a victim of a crime, or serious traffic accident; they are all offered assistance through our victim witness protection program."

The week started by the late president Ronald Reagan is filled with several events such as vigils and dedications, but are all happening in Richmond. Albemarle County Police say they've listened to their community who said they would rather not have events because it would appear to be a celebration of individual crimes.

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