The theme for this year is “New Challenges.
New Solutions.” Several representatives from the district attorney’s office and solicitor general’s office accepted the proclamation at a recent commission meeting.Each year, these and other local county agencies join together to host activities in recognition of the observation. This year, the county will hold an event April 25.
District Attorney Jim Wright and Solicitor General Trea Pipkin, along with their staff, will host a community awareness event, including a law enforcement recognition ceremony and the 11th annual memorial service for family members of victims of crime, to be held at Shiloh Baptist Church in McDonough at 6 p.m. The memorial service is held annually for family members who have lost loved ones to homicide.
Only 30 years ago, crime victims had no rights and no access to crime victim compensation or services to help rebuild their lives, a news release stated. They were often excluded from courtrooms, treated as an afterthought by the criminal justice system and denied an opportunity to speak at sentencing. Yet through decades of advocacy and hard work, great strides have been made in advocating on behalf of victims.
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 and every year, states and localities receive millions of dollars from the federal government to support these services.
The observation also reminds 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 and according to last year’s National Crime Victimization Survey more than 50 percent of violent crimes were not reported to police between 2006 and 2010.
Advocates also face a host of new challenges as they strive to provide culturally competent services for increasingly diverse populations and victims of newly prevalent crimes such as trafficking and technology-related stalking and identity theft.
For additional information about the observation and how to help victims in the community, contact the Victim Services Programs in the district attorney and solicitor general’s offices.
Victim Services Programs — Jim Wright, District Attorney, (770) 288-6400; Trea Pipkin, Solicitor General, (770) 288-7178.
Shiloh Baptist Church is at 262 Macon St. in McDonough. Make sure to RSVP at (770) 288.6351.