Welcome to National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2022. This year’s commemoration marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the very first victim assistance organizations, and a pivotal point for the crime victims’ rights movement. Ten years after the first victim assistance programs were formed, the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime released recommendations for government action on the appropriate treatment of crime victims. In a preface to those recommendations, the Honorable Lois Haight Herrington, Chairman of the Task Force, described the impact of victimization:
“You must know what it is to have your life wrenched and broken, to realize that you will never really be the same. Then you must experience what it means to survive, only to be blamed and used and ignored by those you thought were there to help you. Only when you are willing to confront all these things will you understand what victimization means.”
This year’s theme—Rights, access, equity, for all victims—is a response to that impact still felt by many victims and survivors today. We must support victims’ rights, increase access to and options for victim services and compensation, and ensure equity and inclusion so that victims and survivors can find the justice they’ve defined for themselves.
Communities across the country will come together this week—including here in Washington, DC on the National Mall—with the collective goal of raising awareness about victims’ rights, which was only a fledgling concept 40 and 50 years ago. I hope you have a moment this week to pause and reflect on the magnitude of that and the possible reach of all those voices. It’s overwhelming and awe-inspiring.
Help us commemorate NCVRW and the many accomplishments of the victim services field. Please visit our Events page to search for NCVRW activities near you. If you’re local to the DC metro area, I encourage you to join us on the National Mall for our Candlelight Vigil and Awards Ceremony on April 28th and April 29th, respectively. We haven’t hosted the vigil in over a decade and it’s sure to be a powerful event. Just be sure to register first! If you cannot participate in-person, we will be streaming the events at ovc.ojp.gov/live. Additionally, our Resource Guide offers many ideas to develop awareness campaigns, some as simple as posting social media content throughout the week or sharing our newly released theme video with colleagues and friends. Use the hashtag #NCVRW2022, so we can all share in your commemorations.
We appreciate all your efforts to take part in NCVRW 2022. On behalf of the Office for Victims of Crime, thank you for joining me in honoring crime victims, survivors, and all the individuals and organizations across the United States who support and serve them.