OVC ArchiveOVC
This file is provided for reference purposes only. It was current when produced, but is no longer maintained and may now be outdated. Please select www.ovc.gov to access current information.
National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 18-24, 2004 banner

Guidelines for Sponsoring a Student Poster and Essay Contest

These guidelines are designed to engage elementary, middle and high school students in commemorating the theme of 2004 NCVRW, utilizing their writing and artistic talents. Crime is a problem that detrimentally affects us all, yet too often our children and youth are left out of the dialogue about how to address crime and victimization. We seldom ask for their views about these critical issues that affect our homes, schools, neighborhoods and communities.

This contest will result in creative input from children and teenagers about their perspectives on crime and victimization, and on our shared values of individual and community safety, equality, and justice for all. Crime in America has a significant impact on our youth, as evidenced by statistics from the 2001 National Crime Victimization Survey:

  • Youth between the ages of 12 and 19 experienced over 1,798,010 non-fatal violent victimizations, rates which are higher than any other age group.
  • There were an estimated 82,440 rapes and sexual assaults.
  • Robberies were estimated at 187,020.
  • There were an estimated 339,180 aggravated assaults and an estimated 1,189,020 simple assaults.
  • There were an estimated 56,040 thefts, i.e., pocket picking and purse snatching.1

These Guidelines and Contest Overview – which can be modified, as needed – include contest rules and suggested activities that NCVRW Planning Committees can use to sponsor and promote a Student Poster and Essay Contest.

Student Poster and Essay Contest Guidelines

Contest Co-sponsors

The Contest can be co-sponsored by a community’s NCVRW Planning Committee, which should include crime victims and survivors, community- and system-based victim assistance programs, criminal and juvenile justice agencies, and allied professionals (including schools). Contest Co-sponsors can provide speakers for classrooms and student body assemblies who can address the impact of crime and victimization, and our shared values to address crime and assist its victims.

Contest Overview

A one-page Contest Overview included in these Guidelines can be utilized to explain the Contest to School Board members, school principals, teachers, or others who will help implement the Contest in local schools.

Theme of the Contest

The 2004 NCVRW theme – “Victims’ Rights: America’s Values” – can help:

  • Engage schools as partners in victim and public awareness efforts.
  • Increase awareness among students about crime and victimization, and how we can all work together to better ensure safety in our homes, schools and neighborhoods, and help victims who need our support.
  • Generate interest and awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims from the unique perspective of youth.

Submitting Entries

The Poster Contest is designed for students in grades 1 through 3. The Essay Contest is designed for students in grades 4 through 12. Children should write or draw from their perspectives – what they think, feel or know about crime and victimization. All entries will be judged on expression of the contest theme, style, content and creativity.

Posters should be submitted on white paper that is no larger than 17" by 22". Suggestions for essay lengths include the following:

Grades 4 to 5 75 to 150 words
Grades 6 to 7 150 to 250 words
Grades 8 to 9 250 to 500 words
Grades 10 to 12 500 to 750 words

Contest Co-sponsors should create a simple Submission Form (in paper format for distribution and in electronic format for posting on web sites) that includes:

  • Student’s Full Name
  • Student’s Age
  • Student’s Grade
  • Name of Teacher
  • Name of School
  • Address of School
  • Telephone Number of School
  • Contest Deadline

The deadline for submitting all entries is Friday, March 19, 2004. All entries must be accompanied by the official Submission Form (included in these Guidelines) which can be provided to schools in paper or web-based formats. All entries become the property of the Contest Co-sponsors and will not be returned.

Contest Implementation: Ten Tips

1. Determine the best contact for Contest implementation, i.e., School Boards, principals, teachers, PTA, etc. Draft a letter that explains the 2004 NCVRW Poster and Essay Contest and stresses its educational value, and attach the enclosed Overview.

2. Post information about the Contest, including the Submission Form, on your Co-sponsors’ web sites, and ask participating schools to do the same.

3. Seek donations from local businesses and merchants for contest prizes, i.e., cash prizes, merchandise, free fun activities (such as bowling or movie tickets), and make sure that all contributions are publicly recognized. Once prizes have been obtained, include specific information in the announcement that is provided to students.

4. Provide a certificate of participation to all students who submit entries, utilizing the sample certificate of appreciation included in this Resource Guide’s Camera-ready Artwork section and on the CD-ROM.

5. Solicit a panel of judges that includes victims and survivors, victim service providers, justice professionals, civic leaders and educators. Depending upon the number of entries, the Contest Co-sponsors may want to screen submissions and select a pre-determined number in both categories for the judges’ review.

6. Publicize the contest to local news media and invite them to attend either the judging or awards presentation events.

7. Once winning entries have been selected, invite the students, their families and teachers to attend an awards ceremony (that can be held in conjunction with other NCVRW victim and public awareness events).

8. Prominently display all entries, or the winning entries (depending upon available space), at NCVRW victim and public awareness events.

9. Be sure to follow-up with thank-you letters to anyone who provided support or assistance in implementing the Student Poster and Essay Contest.

10. Consider utilizing portions of the essays or the poster artwork in victim and public awareness activities throughout the year.

Criteria for Judging

Suggested criteria for judging on a scale of 100 include:

Appropriate reflection of the 2004 NCVRW theme 25
Writing or artwork style 25
Writing or artwork content 25
Creativity in writing or artwork 25

1 Bureau of Justice Statistics. (September 2002). Criminal Victimization 2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

Previous Contents Next

National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Victims' Rights: America's Values April 18–24, 2004
Archive iconThe information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.