Each year during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, victim assistance programs across the country organize memorial and commemorative events to expand public awareness of victims rights and services and to remember crime victims. This year's Resource Guide features a number of field-initiated activities, including highlights of NCVRW events across one state and an overview of how a victim services program utilized the 1995 Guide's artwork and ideas. We want to thank the many individuals that contributed creative and unique ideas contained in this section and hope that it assists you in planning and coordinating your NCVRW events!

To receive sponsorships and to seek donations for your National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) activities, the following local business and civic organizations tie directly to this year's theme, "Victim Justice: A New Day Dawns."

COMMEMORATING CRIME VICTIMS NCVRW Events Across the State of Colorado

Numerous events were held throughout the state of Colorado during 1995 NCVRW. The following overview highlights some of the unique ceremonies and activities that were held throughout the week. A salute to the creativity and commitment that went into these events, and, in addition, the Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) for providing this information.

REMEMBRANCE TREE: The Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance developed a unique memorial for victims through the creation of a Remembrance Tree. The purpose of the tree was to "visually symbolize the victims who have touched the hearts of family, friends and professionals in the field." To create the tree, COVA mailed blank paper leaves to its members across the state. Over 1,120 of the brightly colored leaves were returned to COVA, with the names of victims printed on each one. The leaves were attached to a tree in Denver's Botanic Gardens, where COVA held a statewide NCVRW event that included a reading of the Governor's Proclamation, speeches and recognition awards. In addition, The Medicine Warriors -- a youth group representing several Indian nations whose members must remain in school, free of substance abuse and cannot be associated with gangs -- performed traditional Native American drumming, songs, dance and storytelling. The event generated wide media coverage and the Remembrance Tree provided a very visible and touching reminder of victims of crime.

PROCLAMATION FROM A TRIBAL COUNCIL: The Southern Ute Victim Service Program in Ignacio, Colorado, in its first year of existence, was able to encourage the Tribal Council to proclaim NCVRW as Southern Ute Indian Tribe Crime Victims' Rights Week. This was an important milestone for the program because, in addition to the formal proclamation, the Tribal Council pledged to devote resources to helping crime victims throughout the year.

TRAVELING ARTWORK DISPLAY: The Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Team in Ft. Collins, Colorado utilized artwork created by victim survivors to create a "traveling artwork display" for NCVRW. The display was featured at a University, local malls, and at the County Courthouse during the week. In addition, they held a flag raising ceremony that launched a "Victim Justice" logo flag and a media campaign that resulted in advocates appearing on local television news, radio talk shows, and a Sunday feature in the local newspaper.

ART AND POETRY SHOW: A "Survivors of Violence Art and Poetry Show" was organized by Survivors of Violence in Boulder, Colorado and was held at local art gallery during the last two weeks of April. The event included a formal opening, a poetry reading and art sales throughout the show. To help fund the event, Survivors of Violence enlisted the support of two local pizza parlors, which donated a percentage of their profits through the sale of special Pizza Pals that the organization helped market.

COURAGE WALK: Victim Outreach Information helped raise funds to serve victims of crime in three communities (Edgewater, Golden and Wheat Ridge) through its "2nd Annual Courage Walk." Participants were asked to donate $10.00 for the registration fee or to raise $10.00 in pledges. To encourage school organizations to participate, schools were allowed to keep one half of the pledges they raised, donating the other half to Victim Outreach Information.

BURRITOS ON THE BOULEVARD: Victim assistance agencies in Fremont County held a fundraiser during NCVRW entitled "Burritos on the Boulevard," where tickets were sold for $3.50, and all in attendance received theme-related seed packets.

ROSE BUSHES -- DONATION AND PLANTING: A NCVRW celebration was held outside the Children's Advocacy Center in Colorado Springs, jointly sponsored by several criminal justice and victim services agencies. Local agencies donated rose bushes for planting at the Children's Advocacy Center, and extra rose bushes were planted at the Safehouse.

REMEMBERING VICTIMS WITH A SONG: In previous years, a special "Remembrance Park" was created next to the Arapahoe County Justice Center to serve as a memorial to crime victims. During NCVRW, the District Attorney and law enforcement members of Victims Are A Priority, held a ceremony and reception for the dedication of a special song for the park.

For additional information, please contact:

Nancy Lewis, Executive Director

Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance

789 Sherman Street, Suite 505

Denver, Colorado 80203 (303) 861-1160

An Overview of 1995 NCVRW Activities in Arkadelphia, Arkansas

With a total budget of two-hundred and fifty dollars, the Arkadelphia, Arkansas Victim Assistance Program organized and conducted a surprising number of activities and events during last year's

NCVRW. Their experience is highlighted below to help illustrate how you can utilize the many ideas, materials, and camera-ready artwork in this Resource Guide for your NCVRW activities!

Throughout NCVRW, the Arkadelphia Victim Assistance Program:

In addition, the local women's shelter sponsored a Chamber of Commerce coffee and held a tree planting ceremony. As the major event for NCVRW, the Arkadelphia Victim Assistance Program created a Memorial Display, described in a personal letter below.

A Victim Advocate's Voice: Organizing a Memorial Display

Organizing NCVRW activities places additional burdens on victim service providers who are often struggling to keep up with the demands of their work. Realizing this, we have reproduced a letter from Becky Ursery, the Victim Caseworker in the Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Office of the Prosecutor. Her letter not only illustrates the detailed planning and coordination that can go into the creation and development of NCVRW events, but eloquently describes the personal rewards of going the extra mile during NCVRW!

I decided early on to focus NCVRW this year on homicide and its continuing effect on the survivors as well as the general public. After much thought and prayer I decided to put up a memorial display at the county courthouse. My goal was to show homicide victims from birth to just before their death. I sent volunteers to the courthouse to dig through old criminal files and came up with the names of all homicide victims in our county since 1980. Next came the difficult task of locating the families of the victims and letting them know what we were wanting to do. A local bail bondsmen was a real fountain of information -- he remembered almost every case and gave me names of families from Clark County who had suffered through a homicide in a different county. We didn't exclude anyone.

Next, we worked out an arrangement with the local printer to use his color copier (for free) so that we could copy photographs and return them to their owners. We then sent out around thirty packets of information and included cardboard mailers (that I had gotten free at a Boy Scout Expo the month before while doing dental impressions for a local scout troop) to return photographs and memorabilia. We promised to return the photographs in the mail the same day that we received them and were able to do this in all but one situation -- the copier was getting its 50,000 mile tune-up.

I was thrilled when we started getting packages in the mail almost immediately! People were dropping things off at my office and I was getting to meet lots of homicide survivors from the years prior to our setting up our program. I was able to refer several families to Parents of Murdered Children and one to MADD. I was sad, but at the same time it was wonderful.

We (myself and volunteers) would take the color copies of photographs, trim them, and then mount them on construction paper. The small "framed" prints were then mounted as a collage on poster board along with the victim's name, date of birth and date of death.

The local office supply store was so helpful once they understood what we were doing and did everything they could to help us. We bought forty feet of black butcher paper and I explained to the manager of the office supply store that I was going to need to cut it in half once I got it and all of the problems that would entail. I ordered the paper over the phone and when it was delivered it was already cut in half! We then called upon the Sheriff's Office and Police Department for "Police Line-Do Not Cross" tape and glued that down the middle of the black paper.

The Friday before Victims' Rights Week we went to the courthouse, set up a video camera and started putting up "the Wall." First, we put the black paper with the bright yellow tape all down on wall in the courthouse, from one end to the other. Then, we started putting up the photographs of the homicide victims. We could hardly get the display up on the wall because of the number of people stopping to look and ask questions. We had made small posters with the name and date of death on them for anyone who had not sent in photographs. Before we had finished putting up the display, I had commitment from another family to bring in photographs on Monday of their loved one to go up on "the Wall." On Tuesday, a local merchant whose daughter had been killed by a drunk driver showed up at my office with photographs and poem about his daughter and tearfully asked if she could be included. She was on the display before the courthouse closed that day.

It was a moving experience for everyone involved. A friend of one of the families called me later in the week and thanked me for what we had done. I didn't know the person that called but they told me that the family that I had contacted had never gotten over their daughter's death. She was killed in the early '80's and the caller said that now the family had started healing. It had taken my letter and their participation to get them to finally come to terms with what had happened.

What really surprised me about the entire experience was how hard it was on me. I knew these homicide victims, but, it never dawned on me that I knew them from their crime scene photographs only. To pull a photograph of one victim out of an envelope and see her as a three-year old with a silly wig on her head reduced me to tears. That's when I knew that the memorial display was worth every bit of hard work, sweat and all of the tears that went into it.

Well, we got the wall up and people started coming. We got press in all of the local newspapers and more people came. We contacted the schools and students started coming. It was amazing, people who usually only came to the courthouse to pay their taxes were taking their lunch hours to come and see our display. The group of retired men who meet for coffee twice a week made a special trip to see the display. It was amazing! People would stop me on the street and in the grocery store to tell me what an impact the display had on them. And the greatest part of it all -- I've started receiving requests from families to have their loved ones photographs on the wall Next Year!

The media center at the local University (Henderson State University) agreed to help make a video of the display as it was being created and of people looking at the display after it was put up. The video will be put to music, copied and sent to the families who trusted the organizers with their most precious memories.

For additional information, please contact:

Becky Ursery, Victim Caseworker

Office of the Prosecutor, Clark County

201 North 10th Street

Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923 (501) 246-9868


Ceremony at the Rotunda of the State Capital

An annual Victims' Rights Week Observance is sponsored by the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Council in Madison, Wisconsin. The Council was created by statute in 1982 to serve as an advisory board to the Attorney General and as an advocacy body for victims of crime in Wisconsin.

In 1994, the Council held a ceremony in the Rotunda of the State Capitol to remember survivors of homicide victims. Following remarks by the State Attorney General, the Chairperson of the Crime Victims' Council, a survivor of homicide, and other victim advocates, a specially made wood-carved map of the state was presented. The map was large enough to display flowers from victim survivors representing each of the counties in the state.

During the ceremony, four representatives of survivors read statistics about homicides in the state, and audience members participated by stepping forward and speaking about a person they knew who had been a victim of a homicide. As they spoke, each was given a carnation to place on the map of Wisconsin in memory of the deceased. The ceremony concluded with songs by a fifth and sixth grade choir from a local elementary school.

In addition to the ceremony, victim resources were displayed in the Capitol Rotunda throughout NCVRW. Survivors of Incest were recognized through the display of two banners that were created from quilt pieces made by incest survivors as part of the Banner Project. In recognition of violence against children, a quilt made by the Women's Horizons of Kenosha, created from quilt pieces made by children who have lived in a violent environment was also displayed. In addition, the display included information from Parents of Murdered Children, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Wisconsin Committee on the Prevention of Child Abuse, and the Attorney General's Crime Prevention Resource Center.

For additional information, please contact:

Wisconsin Department of Justice

Office of Crime Victim Services

P.O. Box 7951

Madison, Wisconsin 53707


For the past four years, the Crime Victims' Center of Chester County and the Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, have jointly sponsored a Homicide Vigil at Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania. The U.S. Park Service provides space each year for the Vigil, either outside or in a chapel on the Park's grounds. The vigil is a unique partnership between criminal justice agencies, victim services programs and the U.S. Park Service. Each year at least ten local and state police agencies participate, with contributions ranging from submitting names of victims from cases they have worked on, to providing honor guards for the ceremony, to staging a helicopter fly-over tribute to crime victims during the ceremony. The vigil also serves as a tribute to police officers killed in the line of duty.

Speakers include a survivor and a police officer from each county, and other criminal justice officials. Tributes are given to homicide victims, including: the reading of victims' names, the burning of candles, and a display of photographs. The Valley Forge Chapel Boy's Choir provides a musical tribute.

To generate public awareness of the vigil, the two victim services programs issue press releases to all local media, and the coverage of the vigil is always extensive. Attendance at the vigil is increasing each year, with over 125 individuals participating in 1995.

For additional information, please contact:

Peggy Gusz, Executive Director

Crime Victims' Center of Chester County

236 West Market Street

West Chester, Pennsylvania 19382 (610) 692-7420


A Collaboration Between the Health and Justice Communities

To raise community awareness on the impact of violence, The Victim-Witness Assistance Program in the Savannah, Georgia District Attorney's Office, sponsored a community awareness Forum on Violence at a local auditorium during National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

The featured speaker was a local emergency room physician that specializes in treating trauma patients. The speaker provided his unique perspective on the range of traumatic injuries seen in the emergency room and the type of violence occurring in the community. The forum served to highlight the medical community's concern about violence, and focused attention on the need for collaborative efforts to reduce violence between the health and justice communities.

The Victim-Witness Assistance Program worked with local television outlets to develop public service announcements for broadcast in order to generate community-wide attendance. Over 100 individuals attended the Forum. In addition, the program invited all the criminal justice agencies and crime

prevention and victim assistance programs in the county to participate in a resource fair. Tables were set up in the lobby of the auditorium, providing a multitude of free information.

For additional information, please contact:

Helen Smith, Director, Victim-Witness Assistance Program

Office of District Attorney Spencer Lawton, Jr.

P.O. Box 2309

Savannah, Georgia 31412 (912) 652-7329


Hold a NCVRW Barbecue

A unique fundraising event has been held to raise money for emergency crime victim assistance by the Sheriff of Chesapeake, Virginia for the past fifteen years. The event each year is held in a farmer's cornfield. In its first year, the barbecue attracted 800 supporters. During the following years, the Sheriff effectively marketed the concept to the business and civic community and today this barbecue is now the largest charitable event of its kind in the county.

In 1995, the barbecue attendance exceeded 5,000 individuals and featured over 45 vendors that provided the food, beverages and entertainment. The admission fee is $20.00, and all tickets are sold in advance, ensuring a successful event. The barbecue has matured into what is called the "The Great American Food Fest." Originally, the proceeds from the event provided emergency assistance up to $200.00 to eligible crime victims over the age of 60 and was entitled the Elderly Victims Assistance Program Barbecue. Because of the success of the event, the barbecue's proceeds now help fund crime victim assistance for indigent victims. What started as an idea, grew into a major fundraising event, according to the program's organizers.

To replicate this concept, the organizers offer three major elements for success: first, the idea must have a unique and strong beginning -- A New Day Dawns; second, the top administrator must be willing, initially, to become personally involved and to sell the idea; and finally, there must be staff dedicated to making the idea work. The Chesapeake Sheriff's Office is fortunate to have all three components.

For additional information, please contact:

Joyce Walsh, Office of the Sheriff

c/o Sheriff John Newhart's Great American Food Fest

P.O. Box 15125

Chesapeake, Virginia 23328 (804) 547-6159


Things You and Your Neighbors Can do

The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has developed an outstanding public awareness package to help celebrate Crime Prevention Month, held each October. We are pleased that NCPC, once again, offers reproducible brochures for this Resource Guide. Most importantly, the selected brochures are presented this year in both English and Spanish. Translation of the brochures was made possible through the National Crime Prevention Council's cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

You are encouraged to reproduce NCPC's materials for your public awareness activities, as long as they are not distributed for profit or in a way that suggests commercial endorsements. The following brochures are provided in the 1996 Resource Guide:

To receive the 1996 Crime Prevention Month Resource Kit free of charge, contact NCPC and ask to be added to their mailing list. There is a charge for obtaining the crime prevention brochures in Spanish.

For additional information, please contact:

National Crime Prevention Council

1700 K Street, NW, Second Floor


This year's colors for National Crime Victims Rights Week are Orange and Yellow!! Orange -- to symbolize the color of a sunrising -- and yellow, the sun shining on a new day dawning. As part of the tradition of NCVRW, we call on advocates and supporters to use the colors of 1996 NCVRW as you reproduce posters, brochures, buttons and NCVRW materials!

In addition, many advocacy groups have called on individuals to wear ribbons as a reminder of their cause:

Symbolize 1996 with the colors of a sunrise for Victim Justice: Orange and Yellow Ribbons Rising!! MORE IDEAS USING THE RESOURCE GUIDE MATERIALS


Back to NCVRW 1996 Table of Contents

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