Official Recognition & Public Speaking Opportunities
Proclamations and Resolutions
Bring added awareness and recognition to your National Crime Victims
Rights Week activities with an official Proclamation or Resolution.
A Proclamation is made by an elected or appointed executive,
such as the Governor, County Executive, or Mayor, while a Resolution
is adopted by a legislative body, such as your state legislature
or county or city council. An official Proclamation or Resolution
can also be an important step in securing the participation of government
officials and attention by the media, adding local prestige to all
your weeks events.
A sample Proclamation
and sample Resolution
are included in the Sample Section of the Resource Guide, along
with a sample letter
requesting a Proclamation or Resolution.
Public Speaking Opportunities
National Crime Victims Rights Week provides a number of
public speaking opportunities, whether as part of an annual award
ceremony for friends and colleagues, or outreach to new audiences.
Many local organizations put on regular meetings and conferences,
and are frequently looking for outside experts to educate their
membership about specific issues. Consider contacting your local
Kiwanis or Rotary Clubs, the local Chamber of Commerce, or the local
chapter of the League of Women Voters. Local hospitals and businesses
frequently host speakers to help educate their staff members about
While any speech should include the local concerns and achievements
of crime victims and their supporters, the Speech Bites offered
below can be inserted into your remarks to underscore this years
NCVRW theme, Bringing Honor to Victims.
The role of victim service providers:
- So much of what we do, as victim service providers, is to bring
honor to victims.
- When we help them access the resources they needfrom
financial resources like crime victim compensation or restitution,
to emotional support and counselingwe bring honor to victims.
- When we give them the information they need to make their own
choices, we bring honor to victims.
- When we help them to plan for their own safety, we bring honor
- When we help them set the terms of their interaction with the
media, we bring honor to victims.
- When we make sure they have the opportunity to participate in
the criminal justice process, and are consulted before a plea
agreement is entered in their case, we bring honor to victims.
- When we help provide them an opportunity to voice the harm sustained
as a result of crime, we bring honor to victims.
- When we support them in their quest for justice, whether in
the criminal or civil court system, we bring honor to victims.
- Through our advocacy efforts, when we work to ensure that they
are treated with dignity and respect, we bring honor to victims.
We honor victims not through an award, but through a response:
- Bringing honor to victims isnt a simple ceremony. It isnt
an award. It is a collective response to crime victims, recognizing
the harm theyve sustained, helping them rebuild. In a sense,
this is what the entire crime victims rights movement has
been about: bringing honor to victims.
- Providing victims the rights to be informed, present and heard
in a government proceeding that significantly impacts their interests
- Thirty years ago, victims were rarely informed of court proceedings
or, if they were, were not informed when those proceedings were
cancelled or postponed. Victims were given the clear message that
their time was not valuable. Now we routinely make an effort to
keep victims informed throughout the criminal justice process.
- Until recently, victims didnt have a right to speak at
sentencing. While witnesses were allowed to plead for leniency
for a convicted offender, the victim or survivors were told they
had to remain silent about the harm theyd suffered.
- Today, every state provides basic rights to victims of crime.
In these areas and more, the victims rights movement has
brought honor to victims.
We must do more:
- But we have far to go. Until we provide some redress for victims
grievances, we do not honor victims. Violations of the rights
of victims must have some consequence. Victims rights must
be meaningful, and they must be enforceable.
- Our victims rights amendment (statutes) give victims a
right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect. Do we
always do that? Do we treat all victims fairlyeven when
they disagree with the system about the desired outcome of the
case? Do we show respect for victims by seeking their input as
cases progress through the system? When we can answer, Yes,
always, then we can be said to truly honor victims.
Victims rights for all:
- Are victims honored when they are told they only have rights
when they come to the case with clean hands? When a young rape
victim is told that because of her underage drinking, shell
be charged with a crime if she reports her rape? When the mother
of a young murder victim is told she has no rights because her
son was a gang member at the time of his murder? No. We must do
- We must lead the nation in recognizing that no one deserves
to be a victim of crime, and that all victims deserve basic rights
and services. We must move the concept of victims rights
and services from a privilege to be conferred on those
who deserve it, to a fundamental right due to all who become victims
Victims of crime bring honor to us:
- Many victims of crime have translated their pain into action
to make a change, bringing honor to all of us. Survivors of domestic
abuse have fought to ensure that future victims will be protected,
creating battered womens shelters and support
programs. Survivors of sexual assault have worked to ensure other
victims wont have to go it alone, forming rape crisis centers
and response teams.
- Victims of all types of crime have banded together to guarantee
that future victims would have a place in the criminal justice
process, working to put crime victims rights in state constitutions.
These victims honor us, creating a safer, stronger community and
a fairer, stronger criminal justice system.
Reaching Out to the Faith Community
Members of the clergy and religious communities are often the
first people victims turn to when their lives are in crisis. As
guides for the ideals of justice and compassion, leaders in the
faith community can serve as important messengers during National
Crime Victims Rights Week and throughout the year. Victim
advocates should contact members of the faith community to let them
know how important their voices are as our communities respond to
victims of crime.
The following suggested faith-based messages may provide a useful
starting point for faith leaders willing to speak to these issues.
National Crime Victims Rights Week:
- This week, we honor victims of crime. National Crime Victims
Rights Week provides us an opportunity to reflect on those who
have been confronted by darkness, and did not succumb. Those who
have come face to face with evilwhether from strangers or
those they thought close to themand have found the strength
- We are a diverse community. We know we are not immune from crime.
Many among us have experienced family violence, child abuse, or
sexual assault, or been defrauded by someone we trusted. Some
of us have even lost a friend or loved one to drunk driving or
homicide. We know that the journey of healing and restoration
can be long, and we as a community must be willing to support
each other on that journey.
- When we as a people of faith respond to crime victims, we say
to them, What happened to you was wrong, and we will stand
with you. We will help you to rebuild your lives. We will help
you to regain your faith.
- We say to victims we support your quest for justice. Justice
is not vengeance, it is righteous. It is holding perpetrators
accountable for the harm they have caused.
- We can be the rock that supports victims of crime as they work
to restore their sense of safety, of order, and of community.
We can support victims in the decisions they make during their
recovery, and to ask them what they need from us.
|National Crime Victims'
Rights Week: Bringing Honor to Victims