|National Crime Victims’ Rights WeekATLANTA, GA—Sally Quillian Yates, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, along with federal investigative agencies in the Northern District of Georgia have joined together to commemorate this week as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This week is an opportunity for all of us to pause and remember victims who have suffered as a result of crime, but it cannot end there. We have a 52-week-a-year commitment to help crime victims in every way we can.”
Crime Victims’ Week is marked nationwide not only by the Department of Justice and all of its United States Attorney’s Offices, but by other federal, state, and local participating agencies. Many of the agencies and community programs get financial, volunteer, and other support to maintain their services for crime victims nationwide. This year’s theme—”Crime Victims’ Rights: Fairness. Dignity. Respect.”—highlights the importance of affording crime victims these rights and recognizes the individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to this effort.
The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) have provided billions of dollars to support a wide-range of crime victim services that address victims’ needs for information, protection, counseling, and help in exercising their rights throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Now there are over 10,000 nationwide community and justice system-based programs that help victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, drunk driving, elder abuse, child abuse, hate violence, terrorism, identity theft, and survivors of homicide victims.
Every year, the United States Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awards millions of dollars to supplement Georgia’s crime victim compensation program, which allows crime victims to receive financial help with their medical bills and other crime-associated expenses. In 25 years, the fund has grown from $68 million to more than $2 billion and is disbursed throughout the nation, for victims’ out-of-pocket expenses, medical care, counseling, funerals and lost wages, among other financial aid to a variety of victims.
The United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia is involved in a number of victim-related outreach efforts, including:
- Human Trafficking Outreach/Information Distribution: We are coordinating with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency DEA and FBI’s Victim/Witness coordinators to distribute posters advising victims of human trafficking where to call for assistance. The posters will be displayed at locations including: Underground Atlanta, the main Greyhound bus station, local hospitals and health departments, and businesses locations such around Buford Highway, Metropolitan Parkway, Fulton Industrial, Jimmy Carter Boulevard, and the International Markets, as well as with other social service agencies in those communities that work with immigrants.
- Education Initiative: In coming months, Assistant United States Attorneys and the Victim/Witness Unit will conduct training for approximately 100-125 Security Office Personnel at Underground Atlanta, Greenbriar Mall, Atlantic Station, The Mall in Gwinnett and the Macon Mall on how to identify human trafficking victims and who to call if they suspect a person is a victim.
- 2010 International Conference on Sexual Assault, Stalking and Domestic Violence: This conference is being held this week in Atlanta, providing training on human trafficking, sex trafficking in teens, pornography, sexual assault, trauma, and domestic violence. The United States Attorney’s Victim/Witness personnel are participating in the conference and are staffing a display booth that provides information about the services the federal system provides to victims.
- The 20th Annual Crime Victims’ Memorial Service: The First Baptist Church of Decatur kicked off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on Sunday, April 18, 2010, with a special service sponsored by The Crime Victims’ Advocacy Council (CVAC), the Metro-Atlanta District Attorneys’ Offices, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, designed as a healing event for victims and survivors of any crime. During the service, CVAC, and family members read a loved one’s name and lit a candle in his or her memory. A memorial wall of many of those murdered in Metro-Atlanta from 1991 to 2009 was also on display. Many families brought a remembrance, such as a memento or small picture of their loved one(s) and placed it at the front of the sanctuary.
More information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Crime Victims Fund, and victim assistance and compensation programs is available at: www.ojp.gov.
For more information about Georgia’s victim assistance programs, contact the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Molly J. M. Perry, the Agency’s Executive Director, can be reached at 104 Marietta Street, Suite 440, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303, or by telephone at 404-657-1956. Information about OVC and its programs is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc or by calling the Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center at 800-627-6872. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.usdoj.gov/usao/gan.