The Right Thing to Do: Extending the Vision & Reaching Every Victim
On National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
By Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
Texas Insider� Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Helping victims and their families recover from violent crime is the right thing to do. As the State’s chief law enforcement official, I am committed to working with state and local law enforcement to protect Texas communities and prevent crime. Robust crime victims’ assistance is critical to effective law enforcement because investigators and prosecutors rely upon victims to hold criminals accountable for their crimes.��
The Office of the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division (CVSD) works closely with local authorities and crime victim services organizations to ensure that Texas crime victims have the help and support they need to rebuild their lives.
By working together, the Attorney General’s Office, local authorities’ victim assistance officials and nonprofit crime victim services organizations can provide seamless support for victims. Crime victim advocates serve victims by carefully listening to their stories, offering guidance on the crime victims’ compensation process, and referring victims to the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program. The CVC Program was created by the Texas Legislature to ensure crime victims and their families do not bear the cost of violent crimes.
Professional victim advocates who work in local law enforcement departments and district attorneys’ offices balance the needs of the victims with the requirements of the criminal justice system. Advocates at non-governmental or nonprofit agencies such as domestic violence or sexual assault crisis centers, child advocacy centers, or homicide support groups focus on crime victims’ personal needs and concerns. Both groups of advocates have policies that mandate victim safety and support, assistance with crime victims’ compensation, notification of victims’ rights, and information on the impact of crime, the criminal justice process and how to navigate the path to recovery.
Crime victim liaisons, which are legislatively mandated advocates housed in local law enforcement offices, are often the first advocates to respond to a crime victim. They set the tone with a victim or family member regarding how a victim is treated by the criminal justice system and investigative process. Crime victim liaisons also help connect victims with crime victim services organizations’ nonprofit advocates. During this initial encounter, local advocates provide hope and guidance to victims in the aftermath of a violent crime.
As victims progress out of the acute phase of a violent crime, victim advocates continue to assist them with resources and their legal rights. If a crime was reported, investigated and verified, a crime victim liaison will transition a victim to work with a victim assistance coordinator, a legislatively mandated community-based advocate in a local prosecutor’s office. The advocate will often be the bridge and the consistent source of support for a victim during this process.
Often the job includes accompanying a victim throughout their discussions with law enforcement officials and prosecutors, facilitating information gathering, securing updates on victims’ case status, and ensuring that victims and employers understand crime victims’ rights.
Community-based advocates also help victims complete their CVC application for financial assistance from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund so that the financial burden associated with violent crime does not further traumatize victims. Texas law imposes multiple requirements that victims must satisfy to be eligible for reimbursement from the CVC Fund, so advocates are particularly helpful at this stage of the process. Professionally prepared applications are often more complete and therefore easier to process and approve – which leads to quicker reimbursements for victims.
When crime victim liaisons, victim assistance coordinators and local nonprofit agencies such as a domestic violence center or sexual assault center establish effective working relationships, victims benefit from their collaboration. Consequently, the justice process is less traumatizing and more likely to result in a thorough investigation.
This year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is appropriately named, “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim.” It recalls the core ideal of the victims’ rights movement – justice for every victim of crime. Supporting advocates and the work they do continues to be a top priority for the Office of the Attorney General. Advocates help advance crime victims’ march down the path to recovery and serve as their voice as they navigate the criminal justice process.
bout a hundred people turned out for the Texas City ceremony for National Crime Victims Week. Among those was Jennifer Schuett, who was kidnapped from her home at the age of nine, raped and had her throat slashed by her attacker 19 years ago.
A suspect was arrested in October, 2009. She encouraged those who attended to speak out and let their voices be heard and she said she hoped to inspire other crime victims to do the same.
Our team continues to be at the forefront of crime victims’ rights education and enforcement focusing on improving the treatment of victims/survivors and compliance. We are working hard to ensure that victims/survivors are aware of their rights, are afforded their rights, and provide support with rights violations. We are also working diligently on developing remedies for victims/survivors who have substantiated rights violations. Education and enforcement are vital, but advocacy is also key to influencing change. Therefore, we are collecting data and sharing it with policy-makers, so they can make informed decisions about the treatment of victims/survivors and improve accountability.
This legislative session, the CV1 team will update legislators on our progress. Last session, we introduced legislators to the concepts of victims’ rights compliance, enforcement, rights violations, and possible solutions and models to address complaints from victims/survivors regarding rights and process violations.
CV1 will inform them that we have launched our nonprofit victims’ rights resource center and legal clinic, and that we received small foundation grants and private donations to enhance our website, services, and programs. Finally, we continue to explore partnerships and funding to support our services and programs.
1. Establish legislative approval for funding to support crime victims’ rights enforcement programs.
2. Establish legislative authority for enforcement programs.
3. Establish legislative remedies for victims/survivors whose rights are violated.
4. Clarify existing legislative language to support enforcement.
5. Develop new legislation, if needed.
IMPORTANT: Texas is a leader in drafting legislative/constitutional language that provides crime victims with standing (enforcement), remedy (voiding*), and review (standing/writs). However, until CV1 there has not been an entity to help explain or provide assistance with these legal concepts. CV1 has created a process based on a proven civil rights model. We need your support. It’s time to take action! Help us implement our Victims’ Rights Complaint Process
We are building support to ensure that victims/survivors of crime are aware of their rights, are afforded their rights, and are provided remedies when their rights are violated. By signing up, you give Crime Victims First permission to use your contact information to show decision-makers and policy-makers that there is support for victims’ rights enforcement efforts and together we are encouraging them to learn more and do more.
Oct 5, 2011
Thank you for allowing us to introduce a new resource for victims/survivors of crime, providers, lawyers, judges, and our community called CRIME VICTIMS FIRST. Crime Victims First (CV1) is a champion for crime victims’ rights awareness and accountability.� Our mission is to promote and protect crime victims’ rights through education, advocacy, and enforcement.� CV1 is proud to announce our new Step Up Now!� Learn Your Rights Campaign.� The goals are to increase awareness about crime victims’ rights and accountability to ensure rights are afforded and violations are prevented.� Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help support this campaign and the services/programs that support our mission.
“I would personally like to thank Crime Victims First for helping me understand my rights…YOU’RE AMAZING!” – Erica Wildman (Theft Victim)
Too often, victims are not aware they have rights or they find out too late to ensure those rights are afforded to them.� In some cases, victims’ rights are violated and there is limited support and assistance to help them.� Crime Victims First was created to address these challenges, but CV1 needs your support to help increase awareness and understanding about victims’ rights, ensure rights are afforded to those who want them, and to provide support and assistance.
Crime Victims First is launching our new campaign called STEP UP NOW!� Learn Your Rights. The purpose of this campaign is to increase awareness about victims’ rights, support and assistance, and enforcement.� Your support also helps CV1 offer our services and programs.� Please join our Step Up Now!� Learn Your Rights Campaign.� You can make a difference today.
“The Crime Victims First organization has been a tremendous inspiration during this fight for victims’ rights.� CV1 provided the support and assistance I needed over this difficult two year journey to enforce my victims’ rights.� CV1 demonstrated integrity, creditability, and perseverance needed to make enforceable changes in victims’ rights.� I support CV1 efforts to increase awareness about victim rights laws and accountability.” – Steve Watson (Grandfather of Child Sexual Assault Victim)
Step Up Now! Join the Campaign
Crime Victims First – Services/Programs
Crime Victims First provides the following services to anyone affected by crime and those working with them.
Education Services – providing training about victims’ rights, how to ensure these rights are afforded to you, what you can do if these rights are violated, and how those working with victims can move towards compliance.� CV1 created the first victims’ rights:� compliance & enforcement curriculum in Texas with support from the Texas Bar Foundation.� CV1 plans to expand curriculum to address the victim services and legal services perspectives on victims’ rights and enforcement.� CV1 is launching our Online Education Program in the fall 2011.
Victim Services – providing crisis counseling, emotional support and assistance, information, referrals and resources including our Ask an Advocate Program and Victims’ Rights Information Packets.
Legal Services – CV1 is initiating efforts to develop pro bono legal services to provide advice and representation to secure victims’ rights and attempt to resolve rights violations.� CV1 is a member of the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys sponsored by the National Crime Victim Law Institute.� CV1 is also working with the University of Texas Law School Pro Bono Clinic providing learning opportunities for legal interns.� CV1 provides access to the first Online Victims’ Rights Complaint System in Texas.� Crime Victims First receives and attempts to resolve victim general complaints and rights violation complaints.
Public Policy – research shows that there are limited training and funding to achieve compliance with victims’ rights.� CV1 is working to secure the next wave of victims’ rights legislation – legislation that guarantees victims substantive rights and the procedural mechanisms to secure those rights.� CV1 is advocating for permanent funding for victims’ rights, victim services, compliance, and enforcement.� This includes providing funding necessary to fully train all victims, advocates, and those working with victims and ensure providers have what they need to be in compliance.� CV1 can help provide model legislation, and testify when called upon.� Take Action
Special Events – each year during National Crime Victims’ Rights Awareness Week, CV1 offers the Annual Jam 4 Justice Outreach Concerts (April) and the Step Up Now Kickball Tournament (October).� Sponsorship Packets Available
National Crime Victims Rights Week – DFW
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
By Deaf Network
National Crime Victims Rights Week
DATE: April 10, 2011
TIME: 3:00pm – 4:30pm
313 North Center St.
Arlington, Texas 76011
National Crime Victims Rights Week – North Texas at the First United
Methodist Church of Arlington.
Crime Victims Council Announces Sponsors
For Community Interfaith Service of Help, Hope, and Healing
Rev. Sandra J. Lydick- Executive Director and Victims Chaplain
In observance of National Crime Victims Rights Week, Crime Victims Council
is the organizing sponsor for the 5th Annual Interfaith Service of Help,
Hope and Healing for victims of crime, their families, friends, and the
community to be held on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 3:00 p.m., in the Great
Hall at First United Methodist Church of Arlington, 313 North Center Street,
Arlington, Texas 76011.
The service is for all victims of any crime. Spanish language and ASL
Interpreter will be provided. Information tables will share resources for
victims and their families. Refreshments will be served.
Texas Health Resources
Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
First United Methodist Church of Arlington
First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth
Inspiring Temple of Praise Church
Metropolitan Board of Missions
1st Class Mail & Business Center
Williams Financial Services
Advocates for Children of Trauma
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Campus Drive United Methodist Church
Congregation Beth Shalom
Daughters of Abraham
Disabled Crime Victims Assistance
El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church
Fort Worth Police Department Clergy and Police Alliance
Grief Support for Parents of Murdered Children
Hurst Police Department
LifePoint United Methodist Church
Muslim Community Center for Human Services
Open Arms Outreach
Our Garden of Angels
SafeHaven of Tarrant County
Silent Screams – A Cry for Help
Trauma Support Services of North Texas, Inc.
For more information, contact us at email@example.com
CONTACT PERSON NAME: Sandra Lydick
CONTACT EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT TELEPHONE #: ������������(817) 675-6367������
Texas Council on Family Violence » Crime Victims’ Rights Candle Lighting Ceremony Honoring Victims’ Of Crime In Central Texas
Crime Victims’ Rights Candle Lighting Ceremony Honoring Victims’ Of Crime In Central Texas
CONTACT: Angela Hale ������������512-289-2995������ email@example.com
Austin, Texas—April 14, 2011—Tonight, Texans are gathering for a candle lighting ceremony to honor victims of crime as a part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The ceremony is a way to provide communities across the United States with a unique opportunity to contribute to reshaping the future for victims of crime—by raising awareness about crime-victim issues, by identifying and reaching out to victims who need our help, and by thinking anew about how to help individuals and communities harmed by crime.
This annual observance emceed by Texas Council on Family Violence President, Gloria A. Terry, also reminds us that, by honoring the past, we stand on the shoulders of those who led our nation’s struggle to secure basic rights, protections, and services for crime victims.
Many victims of crime will gather at the ceremony tonight to remember their loved ones and bring awareness to the victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drunken driving and a host of other crimes perpetrated on victims.
There are victims of crime every second of every day through out our nation and here in our home state of Texas.
• Victim of murder every 6 hours and 19 minutes in Texas
• A child is reported abused or neglected every 8.5 minutes in Texas
• Victim of sexual assault every hour
• Victim of dating abuse every hour in Texas
• Victim of theft every 14 minutes in Texas
• Victim of domestic violence every 36 minutes in Texas
• Victim of alcohol related crash every 40 minutes in Texas
• Victim of home burglary every two minutes in Texas
• Victim of identity theft every 5 minutes in Texas
• Elderly person is victimized every 11 minutes in Texas
We must work to ensure victims’ rights are always enforced. That is why we need to recall the ideals that inspired the decades-long struggle of the victims’ rights movement and challenge all Americans to honor victims’ rights. Laura Dean Mooney, President of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving will be the keynote speaker.
The Texas observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being organized by the Austin area victim service agencies coalition in cooperation with the Texas Victim Service Association (TVSA). The kickoff event is Thursday night 7 at the Town Lake Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Austin, Texas.
The Texas Council on Family Violence Board of Directors will also honor the 83 staff and volunteers statewide who have dedicated 20 years or more to ending family violence and keeping families safe across Texas. Representing the 83 pioneers in the domestic violence movement are:
• Elva Gonzalez who has served 32 years at the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center
• Gail Rice who has served 30 years in Austin at the Center For Battered Women/SafePlace
• Melinda Cantu who has provided 21 years to SafePlace in Austin
The Texas Council on Family Violence National Crime Victims’ Rights Winners will be honored at a luncheon Friday afternoon at Holiday Inn-Town Lake from 12-1:30 p.m.
The following organizations will be participating in the kickoff event.
Office of Governor
Office of the Attorney General
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
People Against Violent Crimes
Texas Advocacy Project
MADD Texas State
Texas Council on Family Violence
Travis County District Attorney’s Office
For the Love of Christi
TDCJ Victim Services Division
Texas Victim Services Association
Texas Department of Public Safety
Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
United Way Killeen
Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue
Texas District & County Attorneys Association
Texas Lawyers Care
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Travis County Sheriff’s Office
Texas Legal Services Center
The Ortralla LuWone Mosely Foundation
Stephanie Frogge/Garden Charms
Texas Sheriffs Association
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Reshaping the future, honoring the past
By Mike Jones, TDCJ Victim Services Division
Every April in communities across Texas, crime victims, victim advocates, criminal justice professionals and the general public commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. For 30 years Texas has been a leader in the victims’ rights movement, and there is no better time than now for Texans to focus on the hard-won rights that victims of crime in our state have earned.
Crime victims, determined to overcome the effects of crime and regain control of their lives, were the driving force behind the creation of the Texas Crime Victim Bill of Rights, which became law in 1985. Prior to that, crime victims in Texas had little or no opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process. Even among criminal justice professionals, few were aware of victims’ needs: to feel secure, to be informed, and to be heard and heeded by the criminal justice system.
In May 1993, a Victim Services section was established in the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The section notified crime victims, whose offenders were incarcerated within TDCJ, about their offender’s status, particularly in regards to the parole review process.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice demonstrated its commitment to crime victims when “to assist victims of crime” was added to the agency mission statement and elevated the Victim Services section to division status in 1997.
National Crime Victims Rights’ Week
The first crime victims’ rights week was organized in 1975 by the district attorney’s office in Philadelphia. Six years later, President Reagan established National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) as an annual event. Since its inception, NCVRW has challenged the nation to reshape the future by seeking rights, resources, and protections needed to rebuild crime victims’ lives.
The 2011 NCVRW theme – Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past – recognizes the ability of the victims and their advocates to alter history and transform lives. Each year, we celebrate decades of hard-earned progress and renew our commitment to overcome the harm caused by crime. By asserting rights and mobilizing resources that did not exist 30 years ago, victims hope to reshape their destinies by overcoming the negative effects of crime.
The U.S. Department of Justice will officially begin National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with the Annual National Candlelight Observance on Thursday, April 7, in Washington, D.C. The Attorney General’s National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony, which honors individuals and programs for innovations and outstanding achievements, will be held on Friday, April 8, also in Washington, D.C. For times, locations, and other event details, visit http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/events.html.
TDCJ Victim Services will join with other agencies and advocacy groups to host a statewide event honoring crime victims and their advocates on April 14 and 15 in Austin.
The Victim Services Division invites all TDCJ employees to support NCVRW by participating in scheduled activities in communities all across Texas. These events, which include community walks and runs, education and art expos, and a variety of recognition ceremonies, are designed to increase awareness of victims’ rights issues and the accomplishments achieved during the victims’ rights movement.
For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, contact the Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse at ������������800-848-4284������ or ������������512-406-5931������, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TYC To Observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Jim Hurley, Director of Public Affairs
(512) 424-6016/ email@example.com
Tim Savoy, Communication Director
(512) 424-6005/ firstname.lastname@example.org
April 24, 2009
The Texas Youth Commission (TYC) will join with other local, state and national organizations in observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week from April 26 to May 2, 2009. During this week, TYC youth will participate in events designed to help young offenders understand the effect of their crimes on their victims, their victims’ families, and their communities.
TYC’s CoNEXTions rehabilitation program, the core treatment program for every TYC youth, requires young offenders to understand the consequences of their actions from the perspective of their victims. While CoNEXTions is a year-round program, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is an opportunity to focus on the victims of crime, and for TYC youth to hear victims’ stories firsthand.
A number of TYC youth will meet face-to-face with crime victims. Youth at Giddings State School, Crockett State School, Corsicana Residential Treatment Center and McFadden Ranch in Roanoke will participate in victim impact panels, where they will meet the victims and surviving family members of violent crime. These panels provide crime victims the opportunity to describe their losses to young offenders and explain the continuing impact crime has on their lives. TYC’s McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart will sponsor a shoe drive and display a pair of shoes for each victim of the TYC youth at the facility. The shoes will then be donated to a family abuse center in Waco, benefiting victims of abuse and crime.
Additional events occurring throughout all TYC facilities include flower planting in victim gardens, tree plantings, weeklong empathy lessons, and prose and poetry competitions in which youth must put themselves in their victim’s place and express how the crime has affected them.
“We realize that for each youth in our care, there are many victims of their actions,” said TYC Executive Commissioner Cherie Townsend. “Bringing this realization to the youth is an important step in their rehabilitation, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is the perfect opportunity to help our youth develop empathy for their victims.”
This year, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act, the landmark legislation that made a national commitment to victims of crime.
TDCAA Victim Services Director in Austin
The 2012 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide is available at http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ ncvrw2012/index.html. It contains everything you need to host and promote NCVRW in your community, including posters, camera-ready artwork, web ads, and a Spanish version. NCVRW will be observed April 22-28, 2012; “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” is the theme. Please send us articles and captioned pictures on activities in your community.
Video: Crime victims week vigil in Texas City
By TJ Aulds | Share |�Permalink�| Add Comments
About a hundred people turned out for the Texas City ceremony for National Crime Victims Week. Among those was Jennifer Schuett, who was kidnapped from her home at the age of nine, raped and had her throat slashed by her attacker 19 years ago.
A suspect was arrested in October, 2009. She encouraged those who attended to speak out and let their voices be heard and she said she hoped to inspire other crime victims to do the same.
Jennifer Schuett addresses the crowd.
Texas City Police Captain Brian Goetschius, left, and Chief Robert Burby stand with Sylvia Joiner Crawford and her niece Felecia West. Crawford’s two brothers were murdered in two separate incidents. One of the men, Ernest Joiner was West’s father.
Jennifer Schuett started a victim’s voice website that gives the details of her case and helps crime victims speak up about criminal incidents. Click here to go to her site. Jennifer is shown with supporters of her Use Your Voice campaign.