Cheyenne— Governor Mead has declared April 21st to April 27th, 2013 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week (CVRW) here in Wyoming. CVRW is a time to honor victims and the advocates of victims’ rights. This year’s theme “New Challenges, New Solutions” evokes victims’ new struggles and our duty to help them rebuild stronger lives.
For victims, the future means confronting many challenges. After a crime, victims need to know what rights and resources they can count on. They may need funds to bury a loved one or pay medical bills. They may want information on the criminal justice process, their rights to be present or heard in court, and to be notified about court proceedings and offenders’ whereabouts. Yet many victims do not find the help they need.
There was a time, not too many years ago, when victims had no voice in the criminal justice system—when murder victims’ families were excluded from courtrooms and assault victims paid all their own medical bills.
CVRW honors the victims and advocates who confronted such injustices and helped produce a nationwide system of victim compensation and victims’ rights. It also reminds us that failure to enforce these laws or to fund programs for victims jeopardize the success of these reforms.
Wyoming will observe CVRW with special events and programs from April 21–April 27. These activities will include celebrations that will address victims and their rights, including informational booths to recognize CVRW and honor advocates for outstanding service to victims of crime.
Each community can encourage its members to participate in the week’s events and find ways to help victims of crime. For additional information about CVRW, and how to help victims in your community, please contact the Wyoming Division of Victim Services at 307-777-7200.