South Georgia Judicial Circuit advocates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

Published 8:16 am Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

April 22, 2012, through April 28, 2012, marks National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to honor crime victims and our nation’s progress in advancing their rights. This year’s theme — “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” — celebrates the vision behind that progress and the idea of serving all victims of crime, according to a press release from the Office of South Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Joe Mulholland.

Crime victims endure physical and emotional wounds, costly financial burdens, an alarming tendency to be blamed for the crimes against them, and a sometimes hostile criminal justice system. Before the launch of the victims’ rights movement more than 30 years ago, victims were often excluded from courtrooms, disrespected by officials, and afforded few rights. Even today’s media is filled with the latest crime reports from burglaries to homicides, yet at times places little to no emphasis on the actual victims of these crimes.

Despite a few shortcomings, the nation has taken steps and made immense progress in securing rights, protections, and services for victims of crime. Currently, every state has enacted victims’ rights laws, and 32 states have constitutional victims’ rights amendments. In addition, all states have victim compensation funds, and more than 10,000 victim services agencies have been established throughout the country. The movement for victims’ rights continues, and there is still much work to be done to ensure the programs and funds for crime victims remain open and accessible.

In addition to raising awareness, Victim Services and the District Attorney’s Office would like to commemorate this year’s theme by holding a small memorial for all crime victims in the counties of Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Grady, and Mitchell.

This year, the event will be held in Grady County at the Roddenbery Memorial Library on April 25, at noon. The event will include a butterfly release, symbolizing the metamorphosis from victims to survivors, a speech from District Attorney Joseph Mulholland, an opportunity for survivors or family members to share their stories, and music by vocalist Paula Ponder.

Refreshments and appetizers will also be provided for those in attendance. We would ask for the public to come and help as we recognize these brave individuals, and share the word of resources like Victim Services.