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Northam Signs Proclamation Recognizing Victims of Violent Crimes

By Owen FitzGerald, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring April 7-13 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Northam emphasized that it is important to treat crime victims with fairness, dignity and respect.

“We have come a long way in understanding the needs of victims since Virginia’s Code was amended to include victims’ rights in 1995,” Northam said. “Victim advocates make it possible for those affected by crime to begin healing, and Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a tremendous opportunity to recognize the important work of the dedicated professionals that serve victims of crime, helping them to access critical support and reclaim their lives.”

Northam, joined by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran, signed the proclamation at an event sponsored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. DCJS provides more than $60 million in funding and technical support to 420 crime victims projects and agencies across Virginia.

Crime Victims’ Rights Week was established in 1981 to raise awareness of the needs of crime victims and to honor those working to assist them. This year’s theme — Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future — was chosen to recognize the progress being made in serving victims, and to thank those who have worked for years to help victims of crime.

Smaller victim assistance programs and advocacy groups work with larger organizations to expand public awareness of crime victims’ rights and available services. Those organizations include the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Victims Fund, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and the Virginia Victim Assistance Network.

“We continue to strive for an innovative and collaborative approach to support victims of crime in our communities,” Moran said. “Partnerships among victim advocates, public safety, and community organizations are essential to ensure the complex needs of victims are met.”

Additional information about victims’ services is available on the DCJS website at www.dcjs.virginia.gov.

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