National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) is a time-honored tradition that has been observed for 15 years by crime victims and those who serve them in the United States. The 1996 NCVRW Resource Guide, published by the Victims' Assistance Legal Organization (VALOR) and the Office for Victims of Crime -- with co-sponsorship from 24 additional national organizations -- is designed to help victim service providers plan and implement public awareness activities to commemorate this special week.

The theme for 1996 NCVRW is "Victim Justice: A New Day Dawns." The theme reflects the optimism that drives America's victims' rights movement, as well as the opportunities that emerge with every new day of victims' rights and services. It is reflected in all the Resource Guide components and, similar to most of the contents of this Guide, can be utilized throughout the year in public education and community outreach efforts.

The contents of the NCVRW Resource Guide include: public education and community awareness materials; information about resources available free from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, both in paper and electronic formats; resources for the news media to help promote NCVRW; statistical overviews that address 13 topics relevant to crime and victimization; a list of 17 toll-free information and referral numbers for victim assistance; and camera-ready artwork for posters, brochures, bookmarks, buttons and NCVRW letterhead.

Victim advocates and allied professionals should take a few moments to review these tips for using the NCVRW Resource Guide, which provide useful ideas for utilizing these valuable resources to ensure the best implementation of 1996 National Crime Victims' Rights Week. The tips are listed in the order in which the contents appear in the Guide.


Twenty-four national organizations have joined with VALOR and the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime to co-sponsor the 1996 NCVRW Resource Guide. We are pleased that our co-sponsors encompass a wide range of national organizations, including national resource centers on subjects of importance in our field. Each co-sponsor has provided a description of its activities and contact information. As you review this material you will find numerous resources that are available to assist you in your ongoing work on behalf of crime victims.


The most creative, innovative public education and community outreach ideas implemented during past NCVRWs are included in the field-initiated ideas for community outreach and education. VALOR carefully reviews all ideas submitted with Resource Guide evaluation forms and contacts individual states to determine exemplary activities sponsored by state and local victim service providers.


The strength of victims' rights and services is largely dependent on a community's ability to form a strong coalition to promote positive action for victims of crime. Therefore, the establishment of a NCVRW Planning Committee will enhance all public education and community outreach efforts to promote 1996

NCVRW. Utilizing the enclosed sample NCVRW letterhead and sample planning committee letter, victim service providers can invite allied professionals to attend a planning session. These include, but are not limited to:

The sample planning committee letter explains the purpose of NCVRW, invites organizations and individuals to join in an NCVRW coalition, and includes information to be completed regarding the time, date and location of the first planning meeting.


Each year, hundreds of state and local officials and agencies issue official proclamations or resolutions that officially proclaim the week of April 21 to 27 to be "(state/local) Crime Victims' Rights Week." The sample proclamation can be offered to such officials and entities as a foundation upon which to draft an official proclamation that is specific to each jurisdiction's needs. Data from the statistical overviews included in the Guide can be useful for refining the sample proclamation. Victim advocates should request multiple copies of any proclamations that are issued that can be framed for the offices of the many organizations that co-sponsor 1996 NCVRW activities.


One of the best way to promote victims' rights and services is through the broadcasting of public service announcements (PSAs). The six sample PSAs can be utilized for either radio or television stations. Each PSA should be personalized to include contact information for local victim services, along with any relevant data that accurately reflect crime and victimization in the area in which the PSAs are broadcast.

Victim advocates should contact local radio and television stations at least six weeks prior to NCVRW, and ask to speak to the public service director. S/he can provide guidelines about whether the station accepts PSAs and the format that is preferable. While some stations simply accept PSA scripts that are read by on-air "personalities," others ask that the scripts be read by a representative from the organization that submits them. Be sure to understand and follow any guidelines that radio and television stations provide!


Once victim service providers have completed their plans to commemorate NCVRW, it is helpful to send a general press release to local print and broadcast media that highlights key activities they will sponsor. The sample press release, which includes a national perspective and a quotation from the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, can be easily personalized to state and local jurisdictions. The sample NCVRW letterhead included in the camera-ready artwork of the Resource Guide can be utilized for the press release. Usually, local libraries have a reference book that lists print and broadcast media nationwide that can help create a current media mailing list.


The opinion/editorial page(s) are the most frequently read section of newspapers. The sample opinion/editorial column should be personalized and expanded to reflect information pertinent to the community in which it will be published (such as current crime statistics, personal victims' vignettes, information about local victim services, etc.). The column can also be submitted to local radio and/or television stations as an actuality, which is a 60 second statement of opinion that is usually read on air by the author. Victim service providers should consider submitting the opinion/editorial column or radio/television actuality from a local NCVRW Planning Committee or coalition. Remember to use the sample NCVRW letterhead for printing the opinion/editorial column or broadcast actuality!


Victim service providers should start early to schedule speaking engagements during 1996 NCVRW. Potential audiences include: civic organizations; allied professional groups; schools, colleges and universities (both classes, general assemblies, and student/faculty organizations); criminal justice and victims' rights conferences; and churches.

The sample speech reflects the 1996 NCVRW theme and offers a broad national perspective about the current status of victims' rights and services. It should be personalized to reflect local issues and concerns, as well as to publicize the valuable victims' rights and services available in the community in which the speech is delivered.


Support from the religious community for NCVRW, as well as for victims' rights and needs, can greatly enhance public outreach efforts. Many ministers and rabbis, when requested, are willing to incorporate messages relevant to victims' rights and services in their sermons to commemorate NCVRW. Victim service providers should contact religious leaders at least six weeks prior to NCVRW to determine if they are willing to address crime victims' rights and needs in their sermons on Sunday, April 21. Any clergy members or rabbis who are willing to do so should be provided with the sample sermon, which was written by Reverend David Delaplane, the Director of The Spiritual Dimension in Victim Services, who has provided a sample sermon for NCVRW Resource Guides since 1990.


This Resource Guide contains a variety of quotations that address the NCVRW theme and other salient issues relevant to victims' rights and victim justice. The notable quotables can be utilized in speeches, brochures, and all public outreach publications and activities sponsored during NCVRW and throughout the year.


Victim service providers have the opportunity to receive valuable information about victims' rights and services, criminal justice, crime prevention and other important issues on an ongoing basis from the OVC Resource Center and NCJRS, in both paper and electronic formats. Specific details about how to access information are included in this section, including a sampling of crime victim-related Internet sites. An NCJRS registration form also accompanies this NCVRW Resource Guide. Advocates can build an impressive library with the most current research and literature available relevant to crime and victimization by completing the NCJRS registration form and indicating specific areas of interest and information needs.


The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) within the U.S. Department of Justice publishes myriad documents that contain information about research, evaluation, training and technical assistance relevant to crime victims and criminal justice. Information including the titles, year of publication, and order numbers for 45 excellent documents available free from NCJRS are included in the Resource Guide. Instructions for ordering these publications by contacting the NCJRS toll-free 800 number are also included.


The feedback that VALOR receives from organizations that utilize the Resource Guide is essential to improving and expanding future NCVRW Resource Guides. When completing this brief form, victim service providers should specify which resources in the Guide are most helpful and least helpful. In addition, respondents are encouraged to attach any documentation of activities and special events they sponsor during 1996 NCVRW. The most creative ideas will be included in the Field-initiated Ideas for Public Awareness and Outreach section in the 1997 Resource Guide!


The incredible accomplishments, struggles and victories of America's victims' rights movement are incorporated into this impressive document, which was contributed to the Resource Guide by the National Victim Center. The landmark achievements of the past 23 years are highlighted in Crime Victims' Rights in America: An Historical Overview, which can be reproduced as a document on its own, or incorporated into speeches, brochures and other public outreach activities sponsored during NCVRW and throughout the year. There is a space on the final page for organizations to add personal contact information.


One of the most popular components of the Resource Guide is the collection of statistical overviews that address the full spectrum of crime and victimization. The 13 one-page statistical overviews -- which include a space to personalize with the sponsoring organization's contact information -- can be utilized as a "stand alone" document (which can be easily replicated and/or faxed) or incorporated into any public education or community awareness publications. Efforts have been made to incorporate the most current and accurate data which address crime and victimization in the United States today.


A certificate of appreciation is included in this year's Resource Guide, honoring victim service providers for their contributions to victims. The certificate can be reproduced on attractive card stock, with the recipient's name written in calligraphy. Spaces for the date of the award and the signature of the Director of the organization giving the award are provided. You may also wish to modify the certificate to honor volunteers who assist crime victims and advocates, tying the event into National Volunteer Recognition Month which is commemorated in April each year.


The major components of the 1996 NCVRW Resource Guide -- with the exception of the camera-ready artwork -- are available on WordPerfect 6.1 computer disk. By ordering the disk, victim advocates can save considerable time and human resources by having complete documents, ready to personalize, easily accessible. Information about ordering the computer disk is included on the order form.


Two brochures contributed to the Resource Guide by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) address domestic violence and street safety. Both are printed in English and Spanish. The brochures can be easily replicated and personalized with local organizations' contact information, and offer valuable information about both crime awareness and victim assistance. Also, a poster design that proved very popular last year, In America, Victims' Rights Start Here, has been re-designed to depict the 1996 NCVRW theme and dates.


Perhaps the most replicated component of the NCVRW Resource Guide is the camera-ready artwork. Much of the artwork resulted from a national poster contest sponsored by VALOR and OVC at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., with artwork submitted by students.

The possibilities for utilizing the artwork during NCVRW and throughout the year are simply endless. Various pieces can be utilized as "stand alone" documents or incorporated into publications such as brochures, annual reports, and fact sheets. They can also be copied onto overhead transparencies for use in training programs.

The 1996 Resource Guide camera-ready artwork reflects the theme of NCVRW, along with other salient issues relevant to crime and victimization. When appropriate, the artwork can be personalized with local victim service providers' contact information. Local printers may be willing to donate printing services and/or paper, or provide these services at a reduced cost.

The five categories of artwork include:

  1. A variety of posters addressing the NCVRW theme, family violence, child abuse, drunk driving, and crime prevention is included in the Resource Guide. Posters can be enlarged and/or reduced for use in newsletters, brochures, and even as billboards. Victim service providers should insert their organization's contact information prior to replicating the poster artwork.
  2. The artwork for buttons can be printed in one or two colors to add dimension to the message.
  3. The bookmarks should be printed on two sides: One includes the poster artwork message, with the other side containing the list of 17 national toll-free information and referral numbers for victim assistance and criminal justice. The bookmarks print best on paper that is at least 80 pound stock.
  4. The list of national toll-free information and referral telephone numbers can be reprinted as a "stand alone" document or incorporated into other victim service organizations' publications. This list can also be utilized for training and technical assistance, especially for criminal justice and allied professionals who are always seeking good referral programs for the victims with whom they have contact.

5. The is the first year that the NCVRW Resource Guide has included sample letterhead and logos. The purpose of this component is to encourage coalitions and/or NCVRW planning committees to show a united effort under one banner: 1996 National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Victim service providers may wish to type the list of NCVRW Planning Committee members in 8 point type on the left side of the letterhead prior to reproducing it. Logos can be used on brochures, programs, invitations, centerpieces, etc. Also, color can be easily incorporated to add more depth to the designs.

Back to NCVRW 1996 Table of Contents

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