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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 10-16, 2005 bannerNational Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 10-16, 2005 bannerNational Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 10-16, 2005 banner


Notable Quotables

“For too long, the victims of crime have been the forgotten persons of our criminal justice system. Rarely do we give victims the help they need or the attention they deserve. Yet the protection of our citizens – to guard them from becoming victims – is the primary purpose of our penal laws. Thus, each new victim personally represents an instance in which our system has failed to prevent crime. Lack of concern for victims compounds that failure.”

President Ronald W. Reagan
April 1, 1981, on signing the Proclamation declaring the First National Crime Victims' Rights Week

“When the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime, established by President Ronald Reagan convened its regional hearings in 1982, the power of the personal stories of crime victims was highly evident. Most crime victims and survivors who testified felt that people didn't understand their needs and concerns, and that the justice system was significantly imbalanced in favor of defendants and convicted criminals.”

John Gillis, Director
Office for Victims of Crime

“Something insidious has happened in America: Crime has made victims of us all. Awareness of its danger affects the way we think, where we live, where we go, what we buy, how we raise our children, and the quality of our lives as we age. The specter of violent crime and the knowledge, that without warning, any person can be attacked or crippled, robbed or killed, lurks at the fringes of consciousness. The lessons of the victims run like a thread throughout and are the foundation of all the proposals that follow....”

Hon. Lois Haight, Esq., Chair
President's Task Force on Victims of Crime

“There is nothing like hearing from a victim himself or herself to truly hear the layers and layers of harm – the multi-challenges, the multi-layers, the multi-dimensions of this made us embrace more and more the fields and areas we thought were deficient.”

Dr. Stanton Samenow, Criminal Psychologist
President, Center for Responsible Living
Alexandria, VA

“It came through so clearly that the system actually victimized the victim – all the way up and down the line from the earlier impact of the crime, to the sentencing to parole, victims were not considered appropriate wards of the system.”

Dr. Marion G. (Pat) Roberston, President
Christian Broadcasting Network
Virginia Beach, VA

“There was complete disenfranchisement. We were treating victims somewhat like inanimate objects to be present, to say their piece, and to then be removed from the process.”

Robert J. Miller
Former Governor of Nevada

“Things don't really happen in the system unless you personalize it, and demonstrate how much difference it makes in the lives of victims.”

Terry Russell, Executive Director
President's Task Force on Victims of Crime

“If you were them, what would you want and what would you expect? For crime victims, the importance is assertiveness. They [victims] are not expected to know all of their rights, but they should go in with an attitude that they have some and that they are going to exercise them by asking questions and desiring to participate.”

Robert J. Miller
Former Governor of Nevada

“It is hard not to turn away from victims. Their pain is discomforting. Their anger is sometimes embarrassing. Their mutilations are upsetting. Victims are vital reminders of our own vulnerability.”

Kenneth O. Eikenberry, Esq.
Fomer Attorney General
State of Washington

Quotations from five victims who testified at hearings of the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime, 1982

“To blame victims for crime is like analyzing the cause of World War II and asking, ‘What was Pearl Harbor doing in the Pacific, anyway'?”

“I will never forget being raped, kidnapped, and robbed at gunpoint. However, my sense of disillusionment of the judicial system is many times more painful. I could not encourage anyone to participate in this hellish process.”

“Why didn't anyone consult me? I was the one who was kidnapped, not the State of Virginia.”

“What others see as an inconvenience is for the victim an endless nightmare.”

“Balancing competing interests and equities in deciding a sentence can require a Solomon-like-wisdom – and even Solomon heard from both sides."

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National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Justice Isn't Served Until Crime Victims Are April 10–16, 2005
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