2002 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Banner
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Sample News Release

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"Bringing Honor To Victims"
Americans Commemorate 2002 National Crime Victims' Rights Week

[City/State] - During the week of April 21- 27, 2002, victims of crime, victim advocates, criminal and juvenile justice officials, allied professionals, and community volunteers across the United States will observe the 22nd annual National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

In the aftermath of September 11, this year's theme, "Bringing Honor to Victims," reflects the country's heightened awareness of the harsh and tragic impact of crime on its victims, while underscoring the critical importance of helping all victims of crime rebuild their lives.
"The tragedy of September 11 brings special meaning and purpose to this year's observance," said John Gillis, director of the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice. "This week is about bringing honor to all crime victims by promoting a greater understanding of crime victims' needs, by educating victims about their rights and the resources available to them, and by applauding the countless volunteers and professionals who have dedicated their lives to seeing that those harmed by crime don't fall through the cracks."

For nearly three decades, the victims' rights community has successfully brought crime victims' concerns and issues to the forefront of America's public policy agenda. Today, every state and the federal government provides for the participation of victims in the criminal justice system, helping to make individuals and communities safer and making our justice system stronger. Crime victims' laws have been passed at the federal, state, and local levels giving victims legal rights, such as the right to be notified throughout the criminal justice process; the right to be consulted before a plea agreement is entered; the right to be present during court proceedings; the right to speak at sentencing; and the right to restitution from a convicted offender.

Victim advocates also point to other progress. Thirty-two states [including yours, if applicable] have provided the highest protection for the rights of crime victims by enshrining them in their state constitutions. Thousands of local service organizations and offices within criminal justice agencies that provide direct support to victims of crime exist today. And more and more victims of crime are asserting their right to seek redress through civil justice.

Susan Herman, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, encourages people across America to join in saluting the significant achievements of America's crime victims, service providers, and justice professionals in this especially difficult time for Americans.

"National Crime Victims' Rights Week gives us the opportunity to support crime victims and thank those who serve them," said Herman. "Let's build on our past successes and renew our commitment to making comprehensive victims' rights and services a reality in every community. The 26 million people in this country who are victimized by crime each year deserve no less."

Throughout the country, communities are observing National Crime Victims' Rights Week by holding candlelight vigils, awards ceremonies, art exhibits, open houses, commemorative walks, and much more.

In [your city/county/state], numerous activities have been planned to honor victims of crime and those who serve them during National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Included are: [cite examples of special events].

Additional information about National Crime Victims' Rights Week can be found at www.ncvc.org and www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc.

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Type your news release double-spaced on the sample letterhead included in this Resource Guide. If your news release is more than one page, type "- more -" at the bottom of the first page. Add the title and date of the news release, plus "Page Two", in the top left corner of the second page. At the end of the release, type ### to let the reader know that there is no more to come. Permission is granted to use the provided quotes attributed to John Gillis and Susan Herman.

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Bringing Honor to Victims April 21–27, 2002
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