Twenty Tips for Community Awareness and
The following twenty tips are designed to highlight this years
theme, Victims Rights: Americas Values. Many
of the concepts presented here have been successfully sponsored
in past years by state and local victim service organizations and
coalitions. Each of these ideas should be tailored to fit the specific
needs of the sponsoring agency, coordinating committee or community.
1. Coordination is key to any National Crime Victims Rights
Week initiative. In eastern Missouri, a Regional Planning Committee
is formed each year, comprised of all victim-related organizations
(both system- and community-based) and allied professionals who
come together months in advance of April to coordinate each groups
individual activities, as well as to organize one or two collaborative
commemorative events. The many materials in this Resource Guide
can be utilized by your Planning Committee to coordinate and implement
2. Create a visual display of the 2004 National Crime Victims Rights
Week theme posters and victim issue-specific posters, and include
brochures, fact sheets, and statistical overviews for distribution
to crime victims and concerned citizens. Many of these items are
included in this Resource Guide and can be personalized with your
agency or organizations name and contact information. Place
these displays in prominent areas such as the foyer of the court
house or local government buildings.
3. Coalition and agency web sites offer excellent opportunities
for victim and community outreach during National Crime Victims Rights
Week, as well as throughout the year. A 2004 NCVRW website banner
which can be installed on your coalition or agency website is provided
on the CD included in this Resource Guide. A calender of events,
photographs and video footage of prior NCVRW events, and listservs
that keep Coordinating or Planning Committee members updated on
key activities are but a few examples of how to utilize web sites
4. Create resource packages utilizing the camera-ready artwork
included in this Guide (both in hard copy and on the resource CD) such
as buttons, bookmarks, theme ribbon cards, statistical overviews,
toll-free victim assistance telephone numbers, website roster and
theme posters for distribution to all criminal and juvenile
justice, victim assistance and allied professional and volunteer
agencies three weeks prior to National Crime Victims Rights
Week. Include a calendar of events that will be sponsored
to commemorate 2004 NCVRW, and ask these agencies to join you as
co-sponsors and/or participants, and to make copies of NCVRW resources
for distribution to their staff and clients.
5. Educate the public about victims rights and available
services by organizing a Value Days Victim Awareness Fair. Hold
the event in a local shopping mall. Invite state and local victim
service agencies and organizations to set up booths to provide
information about their services and crime victimization. Invite
local law enforcement to display their vehicles, special units
and crime prevention services. Ask local retailers in the shoppingmall
to provide discount coupons that also will be available at the
Awareness Fair booths so attendees learn about crime, victimization,
why they should value victims and victim service providers,
and get extra values for their shopping as well.
6. Ribbon campaigns are an easy way to enable a large number of
people to show their support for victims rights and values.
Engage community service projects that publicize National Crime
Victims Rights Week by arranging for juvenile and adult offenders
with community service obligations to cut eight-inch lengths of
burnt sienna (PMS 471) and white ribbons. (To ensure being able
to find the appropriate burnt sienna, which is an orange-brown
color, ribbon for NCVRW, it is recommended that you go to craft
stores as soon as possible while autumn and winter colors are still
on display and not wait until the spring colors are put on display
in early 2004.) Make copies of the ribbon card included
in the camera-ready artwork (available both in hard copy and on
the included CD) in this Resource Guide, so the double ribbons
can be pinned to the card by the community service offenders (using
two-inch stickpins that can be purchased at most floral/crafts
stores). Then, widely distribute the ribbons prior to and during
NCVRW, engaging local businesses and public venues to hang the
theme poster (also mailed in conjunction with this Guide) and place
a basket of ribbon cards in a prominent display area.
7. Local victim assistance programs can sponsor an essay contest
for elementary, middle, junior high, and/or high school students
(grades 3 - 12) based on the theme for 2004 National Crime Victims Rights
Week, Victims Rights: Americas Values. Ask
students to submit essays that describe their view of how crime
victims rights relate to Americas, and their own communitys,
values. Create a panel of esteemed judges that include representatives
from the criminal and juvenile justice systems, victim services,
and community leaders. Programs can seek donated prizes from local
businesses and community service organizations. The students essays
can be displayed during NCVRW at the courthouse or in the foyer
of local police departments. Sponsor an award ceremony during NCVRW
that honors the winning submissions from each school-level group.
The winners can also be invited to read their winning essays at
the local community-wide commemoration ceremony during NCVRW, or
the essays can be incorporated into other public presentations
to emphasize what the theme Victims Rights: Americas
Values means to our youth.
8. Local victim assistance programs can proclaim a We Value
Our Volunteers Day, and plan ways to honor their victim assistance
volunteers throughout the day, such as sponsoring a breakfast,
brunch, or luncheon; handing out special certificates; or other
special recognitions. (A sample Certificate of Appreciation is
included in this Resource Guide.)
9. Sponsor a Value Victims Volunteer Drive in local
middle, junior high and high schools. Work with participating schools
to encourage children and teenagers to become active in their community.
Hold presentations for classes in these participating schools.
Tell kids about the different services provided by organizations
in the community. Distribute educational materials. Encourage teenagers
to volunteer their time with a local victim organization. This
is an excellent tie-in for victim organizations within school districts
that require high school students to complete a specified number
of volunteer hours prior to graduation.
10. Many businesses are willing to contribute a portion of their
profits to local non-profit organizations that serve the public
interest. Work with a local business, such as a book store, pizza
parlor or coffee shop, to hold a Value Victims fund-raising
night during which the business will contribute a portion of their
profits from that night to your organization or a local victim
services non-profit. Encourage the community to patronize your
sponsors business on fund-raising night by distributing flyers
and contacting your local newspapers.
11. In advance of National Crime Victims Rights Week, solicit
a meeting with your local newspapers editorial board and/or
other media to discuss how victims rights and services have
made your community a safer and better place to live. Ask victims
who have had a positive influence on public policy or community
safety to accompany you. Provide editorial board members with the
2004 theme, along with supportive resources from this Resource
Guide, and encourage them to write an editorial about the importance
of victims rights and services, and the contributions they
have made to your community.
12. Candlelight commemorations are one of the most popular and
inspirational ways to honor victims of crime and those who serve
them. Host your event at an easily accessible site to get the most
exposure and participation, such as the front steps of the capitol
building or town hall, in front of the courthouse, or in a city
park or town square. Add something unique to your event, such as
a special music presentation, poetry written and read by a victim
survivor, a short dramatic presentation on Americas
values or some other special addition to your event. Enlist
volunteers from the community or the Planning Committee to help
with details and to assist at the event in handing out, lighting,
and collecting candles. As an alternative to a candlelight public
event, try organizing a community-wide display of electronic candles
in windows of private homes and businesses for the entire week
of NCVRW. Work with local media to promote awareness of either
event to increase the number of participants and to publicize victims rights
and services throughout the commemoration period.
13. Organize a poetry reading for survivors of crime, their families,
friends, advocates and supporters. Encourage participants to read
their own poetry or a poem that they find especially meaningful.
Sponsor this event in a local library and have on display the 2004
National Crime Victims Rights Week theme poster or some of
the other posters and materials provided in this Resource Guide,
as well as brochures and educational materials available for distribution.
14. Host an art exhibit to raise public awareness about victims rights.
Invite victims of crime, survivors, or advocates to submit pieces
that reflect their personal experiences. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania,
the YWCA hosted an art exhibit for NCVRW. The exhibit was entitled Take
a Walk in My Shoes, and it honored victims of crime and survivors
of violence. The exhibit featured artwork by survivors of all ages
and of all types of crime.
15. Dedicate a local bench, monument, or building to victims of
crime. A Florida chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving dedicated
a park bench and tree to victims of drunk driving. In Ware County,
Georgia, families of homicide victims dedicated a white marble
bench and stepping stones on the grounds of the county courthouse
to crime victims.
16. A memorial garden can be a living memorial to crime victims.
Establish or advocate for a memorial garden to homicide victims
in your community. In Stark County, Ohio, victim advocates handed
out seeds at a ceremony during National Crime Victims Rights
Week. Advocates encouraged families and officials to plant flowers
in memory of victims who had lost their lives. In Modesto, California,
families, friends and supporters of victims gathered to dedicate
Stanilus Countys Garden of Healing and Restoration to victims
of crime. The garden features a coastal redwood tree dedicated
to homicide victims, as well as other special plants and trees.
When completed, the garden will also feature a waterfall and monument.
17. Consider initiatives that highlight victims rights
across state or community borders. For example, in 1999, Parents
of Murdered Children held a march and memorial service on the Chain
of Rocks Bridge across the Mississippi River, linking Missouri
and Illinois. The bridge was the site of a murder of two sisters
several years ago. Proclamations from both Illinois and Missouri
were read at this moving event.
18. In Ohio, a moment of silence is observed throughout
the entire prison system and parole offices in remembrance of crime
victims. This simple, inexpensive, yet powerful effort can be expanded
to include all state agencies and/or county and local level agencies.
19. Encourage allied justice professionals, such as law enforcement,
corrections, probation and parole, medical and mental health agencies,
to create their own National Crime Victims Rights Week mini-Resource
Guides that are specific to their staff, utilizing the materials
included in this Resource Guide. For example, the Directors of
the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and the
California Youth Authority send out selected resource materials including
the theme posters, statistical overviews, media materials, and
toll-free telephone numbers for information and referrals to
agency work sites, with a cover memorandum that includes suggestions
on how to utilize them for NCVRW commemorative activities, as well
as suggestions for how to utilize these resources throughout the
20. States can utilize the information and format of the enclosed Crime
Victims Rights in America: An Historical Overview to
develop their own state-specific victims rights history,
which highlights key accomplishments that reflect their states
values regarding crime victims.
|National Crime Victims' Rights
Week: Victims' Rights: America's Values
||April 1824, 2004