2023 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Theme Video: Engage Survivors
This 2023 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week theme video explores what it means to engage crime survivors to ensure they have a voice everywhere decisions are made that could impact them.
LISA DANIELS: Seeing the humanity in all of us is so vital for me and in the work that I do. In 2012, my youngest son, Darren, was murdered.
There were so many systems that failed me. It left me feeling as though neither one of our lives mattered. So, I created what I needed. I partnered with Northwestern University to build a trauma-informed support model for women of color who have lost someone to gun violence or mass incarceration.
I was appointed to be a part of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. I saw the failings of the system firsthand. There's another model that we're working on now for men of color who have served long-term prison sentences.
This is me making change in my little corner of the universe. The hope is that there will be a ripple effect.
MAX SCHACHTER: Alex was in ninth grade. I never thought that he would be murdered in his English class. Initially, it was my grief and my anger pushing me forward every day.
I was appointed to be on the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission to come up with recommendations to make schools safer throughout Florida.
My wife and I started Safe Schools for Alex to give parents resources in schools, resources on best practices. I'm constantly learning. I want to see what's happening in other communities. And when I travel, I can disseminate it.
No parent should be afraid to send their kid to school. And no child should be afraid of going to school every day.
JEROME BROWN: Usually the communities where we work are the communities that's hardest hit by gun violence.
SNUG is a street outreach program, and we get these credible messengers who the neighborhood knows their story, they know how, you know, before they might have been in a different place in their life. These workers are ingrained in the community. They know everybody, they have the relationship, they have the lived experience as well.
Trying to make sure a individual have all the services they need, especially wraparound services. They want to try to reverse the harm that they caused by giving back to the community.
PAULA KOVANIC SPIRO: At a trauma center, we see many victims of violence.
STAFF: Britney is his outpatient therapist here.
PAULA KOVANIC SPIRO: You know, I might have skills as an advocate, but why would a patient believe me? A patient that maybe has had bad experiences or has a lot of mistrust of the medical system.
JEROME BROWN: Before this partnership blossomed, there was a time where anybody coming to ECMC didn't have no access to the emergency room. Actually, families used to meet across the street.
PAULA KOVANIC SPIRO: We have SNUG-based hospital responders. Many of our outreach workers know these families. It helps begin a rapport at the bedside. We get to see people at their most vulnerable and their most scared and support them through that. That's a huge honor.
ABRIANNA MORALES: I was 15 when I was sexually assaulted by a teacher at my school. The only way that my 15-year-old self knew how to deal with it was to just go out and help people.
I really wanted to provide a platform for survivors, like myself, to have a chance for their voices to be heard. And it really all began with one big project, which was the I AM series. Here's the version that we did back in 2018.
SURVIVOR: Me looking very different.
ABRIANNA MORALES: Yeah. Pre-transition.
ABRIANNA MORALES: The whole point of the photo series is to not only to give an empowering opportunity to survivors but also to display the intersectionality of survivorship, that this kind of experience happens to so many people and it doesn't discriminate. And for survivors that haven't come forward yet, they can look at this photo series and maybe find someone that they can see themselves in. And know that they're not alone.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.