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Victims week is in April

The National Center for Victims of Crime is proud to present the 2010 Crime Victims’ Rights Week beginning April 18 -24.

This year’s theme, “Crime Victims’ Rights: Fairness, Dignity, Respect,” evokes powerful memories of a time when victim compensation and support services were not available to those harmed by crime. In the not-so-distant past, victims were being routinely excluded from courtrooms and blamed for their victimization, realities that unfortunately still exist for far too many victims.

Victims and advocates demanded fairness, dignity and respect, and the time has come to acknowledge the progress made toward realizing these deals.

While there has been tremendous progress, challenges do remain.

The current epidemic of violence against children in the streets, in their homes and even in schools victimizes and isolates too many of our young people. They need adults to protect them, to listen to their stories, and to provide caring support. The well-being of our children, and the future of our nation, depends on all of us standing up for these young victims.

In addition, there are too many discouraging stories about adult victims—failed notification systems, denials of compensation, violent offenders released on bail, and in these trying financial times, stories of victim assistance programs forced to sharply curtail the services they offer.

Some states have weak victims’ rights legislation and little enforcement of these rights.

Too many victims do not know they have rights or where to turn for assistance.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week serves as a call for action—an urgent summons for fairness, dignity and respect for all victims of crime.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 18-24, serves to remind us that crime can strike anyone, anywhere. Whether it’s a drive-by shooting, a campus massacre, an act of terrorism, or a crippling identity theft, we are all vulnerable to crime.

In this sense, victims’ rights are everyone’s rights.

As we prepare and celebrate this year’s Victims’ Rights Week, the South Georgia Victim Services Office invites you to give just a pint of blood in honor or memory of all crime victims. The following are blood drive dates and places: Tuesday, April 20, at the First Baptist Church in Camilla, Ga.; Wednesday, April 21, at the First Baptist Church in Bainbridge, Ga., and Thursday, April 22, at the Wal-Mart in Cairo, Ga.

Every donor will receive a special T-shirt. For further questions please call Victim Services at (229) 246-5222.

Charisse H. MartinVictim Services Office of the District AttorneyBainbridge, Ga.