U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office for Victims of Crime

Dear Colleague:

This year will mark the 15th commemoration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which will be observed April 21 - 27, 1996. The week affords us an opportunity to pay tribute to millions of Americans who have been victimized by crime, set new priorities to improve victim services throughout the country, and renew our commitment to provide justice and healing for all victims of crime.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is very pleased to provide the funding for the enclosed National Crime Victims' Rights Week Resource Guide, which was prepared by the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization, Inc. (VALOR) through a competitive grant. It contains many materials and suggestions that will help you commemorate this important week, including a Proclamation and press release, fact sheets, public service announcements, a sample speech and sermon, and camera-ready artwork for a variety of public awareness activities. I encourage you to use this guide to help honor and publicize the accomplishments of the victims' movement and work for needed changes.

OVC serves as the federal government's chief advocate for America's crime victims and administers the Crime Victims Fund, which is derived from fines paid by federal criminal offenders, not from tax dollars. Most of the money collected, about $234 million in Federal Fiscal Year 1996, is distributed to states to fund victim assistance and compensation programs -- the lifeline services that enable many victims to heal. More than 2,500 local victim service agencies such as domestic violence shelters, children's advocacy centers, and rape crisis programs, benefit from these funds.

As you commemorate 1996 National Crime Victims' Rights Week, we hope that you will recognize the extraordinary work of victim service providers who have dedicated their lives to helping victims. We also encourage you to honor the outstanding contributions of crime victims themselves, who have become one of our country's most effective voices against crime.

Perhaps the best way to commemorate this important week is to increase our efforts to ensure that all victims have fundamental rights in the criminal justice system, that every person with whom they interact in the system treats them with dignity, and that every victimized child and every adult is given the opportunity to heal. These are goals to strive for not only during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, but throughout the year. We look forward to working closely with you in this effort.

Best regards,

Aileen Adams
Aileen Adams

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