Steven L. Abrams
Mary Lou Berger
"An equal opportunity
West Palm Beach Joint 2007
Victims’ Rights: Every Victim. Every Time.
West Palm Beach, FL – April 22 to 28 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time for all Americans to learn about victimization, reflect on the cost of crime to our society, and promote laws, policies and programs to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. The week’s theme, “Victims’ Rights: Every Victim. Every Time.” envisions a strengthened national commitment to the nearly 24 million Americans harmed by crime each year.
During the past three decades, the United States has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protection and services for victims of crime. Every state has enacted victims’ rights laws; law enforcement agencies give victims greater protection; and more than 10,000 victim assistance programs have been established throughout the country. Every state has a crime victim compensation fund and powerful federal laws, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, to help protect victims and fund needed services.
Yet many crime victims have not experienced the promise of such progress. Only a fraction of victims report the crimes against them and participate in the criminal justice system. Victims’ rights vary from state to state. Not all protections are enforced. Services are sometimes not available, or they may not meet the physical, financial and psychological needs of victims or their families. Particularly vulnerable populations – the elderly, persons with disabilities, ethnic and racial minorities or residents of rural areas – may not receive the support they need to rebuild their lives.
“We are all diminished when victims go without the protection and help they need,” said John W. Gillis, director of the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. “Anytime a crime is not reported, a witness is intimidated, or an order of restitution is not enforced, we are all less secure. Achieving justice means repairing the harm suffered by all victims of crime.”
Palm Beach County will commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with special events and programs from April 22 to April 28. Among these activities are:
Join in the week’s activities and get involved in helping victims of crime. For additional information, please contact Palm Beach County Victim Services at 561-355-2418, TTY 561-355-1772, or visit Palm Beach County Victim Services’ Web site at: www.pbcgov.com/PubSafety/victim/. For information about national resources available to help crime victims, visit www.crimevictims.gov.