(STL.News) – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler joins the Department of Justice and communities nationwide in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, celebrating victims’ rights, protections and services throughout the week. This year’s observance takes place April 19-25 and features the theme, “Seek Justice| Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope.”
“Every year, millions of Americans suffer the shock and trauma of criminal victimization, affecting their well-being and sense of security and dignity,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “To these victims, we affirm our unwavering commitment to supporting them in their hour of need. We also commend the thousands of victim advocates and public safety professionals who labor tirelessly to secure victims’ rights and support survivors.”
“So often the public only hears about the person or persons who perpetrate crimes against Hoosiers, and often times never hears about the victims” said Minkler. “I am so grateful that this week has been established. We must tell those that have been victimized by these criminals that we will continue to fight for them, support them, and that justice will be done. And we also say thank you to those that are on the front lines every day supporting them.”
Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, putting crime victims’ rights, needs, and concerns in a prominent spot on the American agenda. He also established the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, which laid the groundwork for a national network of services and legal safeguards for crime victims. President Trump and his administration have implemented historic levels of support for victim assistance and victim compensation.
Some 3.3 million Americans age 12 and older were victims of violent crime in 2018, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), part of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, supports more than 7,000 local victim assistance programs and victim compensation programs in every state and U.S. territory. Funds for these programs come from the Crime Victims Fund, which is made up of federal criminal fines, penalties and bond forfeitures.
This year’s commemoration began Sunday, 25 years to the day when a truck bomb exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, taking the lives of 168 people, including 19 children, as well as injuring hundreds of others. The mass murder remains the worst act of domestic terrorism in our nation’s history and led to the establishment of the Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve, which is administered by OVC, and has been used to provide direct services to hundreds of victims of mass violence and terrorism.
“Crime victims deserve to know that they have the encouragement and support of the American people,” said OVC Director Jessica E. Hart. “I hope that citizens throughout the nation will take the opportunity this week to remember all victims of crime and their heroic stories of survival. I encourage everyone to also find meaningful ways to express their appreciation to the many committed and compassionate service providers across the country who work tirelessly supporting these survivors.”