MONTGOMERY, AL – In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 6-12, 2014), the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama is honoring four organizations for their support and service to communities affected by crime, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr.
The Wiregrass Angel House in Dothan, along with the Alabama Crime Victims’ Compensation Commission, the Family Sunshine Center, and the One Place Family Justice Center, all in Montgomery, received letters of appreciation from U.S. Attorney Beck on April 9, 2014 to recognize their commitment to serving individuals whose lives have been devastated by crime.
This year’s theme—30 Years: Restoring the Balance of Justice—presents a perfect opportunity to salute these organizations and their long-term commitment to aiding crime victims. As we celebrate three decades of defending victims’ rights, we are reminded of how far we have come, and how much work is yet to be done.
Only 30 years ago, crime victims had virtually no rights and no assistance. Today, the nation has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protections, and services for victims. Every state has enacted victims’ rights laws and all have victim compensation programs. More than 10,000 victim service agencies now help people throughout the country.
In 1984, Congress passed the bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed not by taxpayers but by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports victim services, such as rape crisis and domestic violence programs and victim compensation programs that pay many of victims’ out-of-pocket expenses from the crime, such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
Crime can have a lasting physical, emotional, or financial impact on people of all ages and abilities, and of all economic and social backgrounds. In addition to these challenges, crime victims face a criminal justice system that often does not have the resources or expertise to help them deal with the remnants of crime.
Thankfully, many organizations in the Middle District have recognized the need for additional services and have made excellent progress in assisting crime victims. The Family Sunshine Center, the One Place Family Justice Center, and the Wiregrass Angel House provide a comprehensive set of services to crime victims in an effort to promote their safety, well-being, and recovery. The Alabama Crime Victims’ Compensation Commission seeks to ease the financial hardships encountered by victims by offsetting some of the lingering and significant expenses of crime.
“I am pleased to honor these organizations for the superb work they have done for crime victims in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. “They share a commitment to reaching every victim of crime and providing them with the services they desperately need. Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office must focus primarily on the prosecution of offenders, we recognize that nearly every crime we prosecute has a victim, and we want them to know they are not alone.”
Further information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is available at ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw.