Crime Victims Week in Iowa

Iowa Governor Chet Culver has proclaimed this week of April 18-24, 2010 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Iowa Public Television’s The Iowa Journal program looked at this issue of victim services back in January of 2010. Here’s a link to my post about the show.

We featured a victim from north Iowa. Her amazing story is viewable here.

Producer Judy Blank assembled a panel with Marti Anderson, founding director of the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division; Sandra McGee, Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services supervisor; Mary Ingham, executive director of Crisis Intervention Service in Mason City; and Paul Fitzgerald, Story County sheriff and Iowa Crime Victim Assistance board member.

You can view the entire Iowa Journal program here.

Here is the Governor’s release from his press office.

Governor Culver Proclaims April 18-24 Crime Victims’ Rights Week

DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver today signed a proclamation designating April 18-24 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Iowa. The week is recognized nationwide to honor crime victims, especially those who have lost their lives, and families who have lost loved ones due to crime.

An event on Monday, April 19, sponsored by the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and the Iowa Department of Corrections, will honor Iowa crime victims. The event will include a reading of Governor Culver’s Victims’ Rights Week proclamation, the reading of the names of all murder victims in Iowa during the last year followed by a moment of silence, and speakers, including victims sharing their stories. This event is at 10 a.m. at the Department of Corrections Administrative Office at the corner of East 11th and Des Moines streets in Des Moines. Media is invited to attend.

The text of the Governor’s proclamation follows:

PROCLAMATION

Whereas, 21 million Americans are victims of crime each year and may experience emotional, physical, psychological, financial, and spiritual crises and harm as a result of crime; and

Whereas, a just nation and state acknowledge the impact of crime on individuals, families, and communities; justice must ensure that victims are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect in the criminal justice system and in their community; and

Whereas, 26 years ago, the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime drew attention to the lack of or poor treatment of victims in the justice system, calling it “indifferent” to the needs of crime victim. A four decades-long struggle resulted in victims’ rights laws in every state and more than 32 state constitutional victims’ rights amendments; and

Whereas, treating victims with dignity serves the public interest by inspiring respect for public authorities and promoting confidence in public safety, which encourages victims to report crime; and

Whereas, too many victims are denied their right to attend trial, present an impact statement at sentencing, or receive notice of the release of an offender confirming that there is more to be done to advance the ideals of victim justice; and

Whereas, ensuring fair treatment of crime victims requires providing information and support for all victims of crime, enforcing victims’ right to restitution from offenders, and notifying victims of their right to compensation and services; and

Whereas, victims’ rights and services restore hope to crime victims that the justice system and society will work to restore their dignity and respect their needs; and

Whereas, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 18-24, 2010, is an opportunity to raise awareness about fairness, dignity, and respect, the ideals of victim rights and service; and

Whereas, this week is a reminder for Iowans to recommit to honoring those values by ensuring that all victims are afforded their legal rights and provided assistance as they face the impacts of crime; and

Whereas, the State of Iowa and all Iowa local governments join forces with victim service programs, justice officials, and concerned citizens throughout Iowa and America to raise awareness of victims’ rights and observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week:

Now, therefore, I, Chester J. Culver, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim April 18-24, 2010, as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Iowa, and express appreciation for those crime victims and survivors who have turned personal tragedy into a motivating force and joined with Iowa’s outstanding crime victim advocates to improve victim justice and build more just communities.

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