Sample Opinion/Editorial Column
Victims Rights: Americas
But Ill never
be a victim of crime! Crime is something that happens to someone
else. Crime is certainly a societal problem, but not one that affects
If these statements were only true! The reality is that most people
in America will be a victim of or witness to a crime in their lifetime.
The threat and impact of terrorism have had a profound affect on
Americans feelings of safety and security. The reality and
threat of being a victim of violence is, indeed, personal.
April 18 to 24 marks the 24th commemoration of National
Crime Victims Rights Week. For seven days, victim service
providers, justice professionals and others seek to promote greater
public awareness about a serious problem that affects our nation
and its people 365 days a year. For one week, we share the opportunity
to have a serious national dialogue about victims of crime and
the impact on us as individuals, communities and a nation as a
The economic impact of crime in America is devastating in itself,
resulting in significant damage to victims abilities to focus,
function and work. The psychological impact may be more difficult
to measure but is no less devastating. Many victims never report
crime because of trauma and fear. For those who do report
crimes, we have much work to do to validate the harm they have
endured, their voices and concerns, and their statutory rights
as victims. And the physical impact results in people whose lives
are irrevocably changed the robbery victim who is left a
paraplegic, the family whose breadwinner is murdered, left to its
own devices to survive, the battered woman who hides her bruises
in hopes of hiding her chronic suffering, and the child abuse victims
who listen closely to the threats of their abusers and never disclose
Victims and survivors of crime have simple, basic needs. They
need to feel safe in reporting the crimes committed against them.
They need consistent implementation of their core rights to information
and notification, protection, participation, and restitution. And
they need to be assured that they are not responsible for
what happened, and that the persons who hurt them will be held
accountable and brought to justice.
When we take time to identify and meet the needs of victims and
survivors of crime, we commit to our shared values for justice
- When you value our right to live in peace in our homes, neighborhoods
and communities, you value victims rights and services.
- When you value our children and their hopes for a life of
opportunity that is free from violence, you value victims rights
- When you value justice for all people who live in America, you
value victims rights and services.
Provide a two-to-three
sentence description of the authors (or collaborators)
agency, and relevant role at the end of this opinion/editorial column.
|National Crime Victims' Rights
Week: Victims' Rights: America's Values
||April 1824, 2004