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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


Tips to Promote Victim and Community Awareness

Creative 2004 NCVRW Victim and Community Awareness Activities

In 2004, communities planning public awareness and community education events for National Crime Victims' Rights Week were, for the first time, provided an opportunity to apply for financial support through the Office for Victims of Crime. Sixty-four communities across the United States were competitively selected to receive partial reimbursement for expenses related to promoting victims' rights and services during NCVRW within specific jurisdictions. Highlighted below are examples of some of the events and activities supported, in part, by OVC. In many of these communities, “traditional” NCVRW events were enhanced by the expansion of collaborative partnerships during the planning phase of each event, and by increased attention paid to utilizing the OVC NCVRW Resource Guide and expanding media relations. More detailed information about each of these NCVRW projects is available from OVC by contacting ovc.ncjrs.gov/askovc.

Tree Plantings/Living Memorials

In Albany, Georgia, two weeping willow trees were dedicated by the Crime Victims' Rights Week Committee as a reminder that violence has taken and damaged lives. During the ceremony, a poem was read and “Amazing Grace” was sung to the sound of an acoustic guitar. A marble marker near the trees is inscribed, “The willow listens and weeps with the gentle whispers of hope. In memory and honor of crime victims in the Dougherty County area.”

Collaboration between service providers and public agencies in Waco, Texas, resulted in the dedication of a grove of trees in honor of all crime victims. During an emotional one-hour ceremony, attended by approximately 300 people, victims and survivors of all types of crimes used a gold shovel to put dirt around the last tree within this “Grove of Hope.” Victims had the opportunity to say a few words about their loved one. Seed packets of forget-me-not flowers with the date and NCVRW 2004 imprinted on it were distributed to the participants. To celebrate NCVRW in the future, victim service providers in McLennan County hope to add more trees, benches, and walkways to the grove.

Outreach to the Business Community

In Sioux City, Iowa, the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence collaborated with the local Community Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, and the Employer's Council of Iowa to host a one-hour working luncheon during NCVRW entitled “When Crime Comes to Work: Recognition, Response, and Support for Victims.” Each of the 45 participants, including a diverse representation of leaders from local manufacturing companies and other businesses, received a comprehensive resource package and posters to promote NCVRW. PSAs for radio and television were adapted from the NCVRW Resource Guide to promote the event, and to provide information to the public about victims' rights and services.

Blood Drive

The Crime Victims' Rights Week Committee in Albany, Georgia, collaborated with the local American Red Cross to promote a blood drive, in honor of crime victims, during NCVRW. Radio PSAs and posters distributed throughout the community advertised this event.

Web Site Development

In an effort to promote local NCVRW events in the city of Rochester, New York, and provide information regarding victim assistance resources in Monroe County, the Monroe County/City of Rochester Coalition for Crime Victims developed a Web site utilizing the graphics and the crime clock concept provided within the 2004 NCVRW Resource Guide. The site is located at www.4victims.org and provides telephone contact information and links to Web sites of local victim service programs.

Child Identification Event

A Community Child Identification Event was hosted by the Tri-County Victims' Rights Week Committee, a coalition of 11 victim service agencies providing services in the tri-county area surrounding St. Cloud, Minnesota. With laptop computers and digital cameras from the Jacob Wetterling Foundation and with additional volunteer assistance from the Becker Women of Today Chapter and students from St. Cloud University, approximately 424 children were fingerprinted and photographed. This information, along with the child's height and weight, was burned onto a CD and provided to the parents. The event was held in the Community Center's gymnasium, which was decorated with posters created by the Becker Elementary fifth grade students and banners designed using the NCVRW Resource Guide themes. The MADD–Stearns County Chapter Crash Car was parked near the entrance, and a large display booth promoted victims' rights and local service information.

Outreach to High School Students

The City of Newark collaborated with the Newark, New Jersey, Board of Education to present a NCVRW event to approximately 950 sophomore, junior and senior students. The program included a performance from a teen repertory company about social and cultural issues that concern young people, such as dating issues, gang and sexual violence, robbery and theft, teenage drunk driving, parental issues, peer pressure and taking responsibility for their choices. The students received a list of agencies and telephone numbers for local victim service providers and a list of dating rights and responsibilities.

Small Table Tent Displays/Grocery Bag Inserts

The NCVRW Committee in Allegan, Michigan, designed an outreach campaign to educate the community through local libraries, high schools, grocery stores, restaurants, medical clinics and emergency rooms. For example, information about NCVRW and Allegan County Victim Services was printed on over 15,000 flyers and inserted into grocery bags at small local markets and large grocery store chains. Flyers were also distributed to seven medical clinics and emergency rooms. Eight area restaurants displayed “table tents” that listed victims' rights and local resources.

Outreach to Local Restaurants and Bars

Brown County Victim Services and their collaborative partners in New Ulm, Minnesota, coordinated an outreach strategy involving local restaurants and bars. Local restaurants displayed NCVRW and victim service information with table tent displays and NCVRW posters in English and Spanish. Post-it notes with tear-off information about victim services were placed in the restrooms of local bars, restaurants, and high schools within the area.

Victim/Survivor Public Service Posters

The Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services in Waterbury, Vermont, utilized the support and participation of its Victim/Survivor of Crime Council to help publicize NCVRW events and plans for a memorial garden to honor victims and survivors of crime throughout the State of Vermont. They developed posters with photographs of members of the Council. Each poster highlighted a different form of victimization and read “I am your Vermont Neighbor. I am a victim of…. I invite you to support the rights of crime victims and the Memorial Garden Project.”

NCVRW Newspaper Supplement

In Kahoka, Missouri, the Clark County Coalition Against Domestic Violence partnered with six newspapers to develop and distribute a 24-page newspaper supplement to over 9,000 homes within a four-county region. The supplement described victims' rights and local services and included special letters and essays written by an Associate Circuit Judge, individual crime victims, students from Clark County Middle School and Clark County High School, and representatives from the faith community. Also included was a special article written by staff at the Circuit Clerk's Office that detailed the process for obtaining a protection order.

Outdoor Advertising

The Sonoma County Victim Assistance Center and its collaborative partners in Santa Rosa, California, held a luncheon and a candlelight vigil in honor of NCVRW. In an effort to support crime victims and involve the entire community in the NCVRW public awareness campaign, the group distributed 200 small lawn signs, similar to those used in election campaigns, to all participants. The lawn signs were printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other, and carried the message “A Pledge to End Violence: Celebrating National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 18 – 24. For information or assistance, call (telephone number).”

NCVRW Billboards

In Houston, Texas, the Justice for All Alliance received support from an outdoor advertising firm and the office of Houston Mayor Bill White to design four billboard ads highlighting the needs of and services available for specific crime victims. A total of 104 billboards were erected in the Houston - Harris County area, delivering the message “Crime Victims Have Rights” in English and Spanish. Each billboard used the “crime clock” concept included in the 2004 NCVRW Resource Guide, addressed a specific type of victimization and provided a local telephone number where victims can access specific services. One hundred public officials, police department representatives, service providers and crime victims then attended a public event in Houston's Crime Victims' Memorial Park, where the significance of the billboard campaign was explained.

Art Contest

In order to reach people within the local communities surrounding Frederick, Maryland, the Frederick County Domestic Violence Task Force asked children to draw their interpretation of the 2004 NCVRW theme by depicting how “helping people” is an American value. One drawing was selected and printed on postcards with a list of victim service and criminal justice-related resources printed on the alternate side. NCVRW posters and the postcards were distributed to community businesses and agencies prior to and during NCVRW.

Memorial Brick Dedication Ceremony

Every year since 1996, the Capital District Coalition for Crime Victims' Rights, Inc. has hosted a statewide event in Albany, New York, at the New York State Crime Victims' Memorial, a permanent monument commemorating New York State victims and survivors of crime. This year, their closing event for NCVRW attracted approximately 250 participants. District Attorneys from surrounding counties and family members of victims read aloud the names of the 526 victims whose names are inscribed on bricks mounted within a walkway at the memorial site. In 2004, 48 new bricks were added to the walkway, and a map and index key were developed to help victims, their families and friends locate their individual brick along the path.

Motorcycle Run

The Delaware Victims' Rights Task Force and its collaborative partners hosted a “Delaware State Police Domestic Violence Awareness Bike Run.” More than 118 participants on motorcycles received a police escort on a journey through Kent County, Delaware. At the end of the event, the riders received information about domestic violence resources and listened to speeches from the Attorney General and State Police representatives. This group received assistance from the Press Secretary of the Delaware Attorney General's Office to help write press releases and use its media contacts to gain more coverage for the week's events.

Outreach to Underserved Populations

A collaborative effort between victim service providers and community organizations enabled communities within Minneapolis and Hennepin County, Minnesota, to host 12 events focused on building links with underserved communities. All events were organized with the input and collaboration of various community and minority groups to ensure successful outreach efforts, and events were announced in neighborhood papers, and through community and minority radio and television stations. To promote respect for diversity throughout NCVRW, information about all the events was compiled on one informational flyer using graphics provided in the NCVRW Resource Guide. Examples of some of the events include:

  • Community Walk for Peace and Non-Violence: Included a community walk with the African American Youth Drum Team, a resource fair and a program at an African American community neighborhood community center.

  • Homicide Memorial Service Drum Ceremony: Featured a traditional Native American Homicide Memorial with Drum and Pipe Ceremony.

  • Southeast Asian Community Council Event: Featured presentations by a local judge and victim service provider and performances by a traditional Asian Youth Dance group.

Survivors' Tree of Peace

In Augusta, Maine, the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center had volunteers pre-fold hundreds of origami peace cranes. Participants of their “Take Back the Night” event were encouraged to write a message or the first name of a survivor of sexual violence on a crane and hang it on the Survivors' Tree of Peace.

Community Forum

In Newark, New Jersey, the City of Newark Law Department Victim/Witness Advocacy Program hosted “An Evening with the Community: Information Panel Discussion” during NCVRW and had the community dialogue recorded for radio broadcast. The event fostered an opportunity for victims of crime and those who serve them to come together to discuss the impact of crime and victimization in Newark communities and to identify and address the needs of crime victims and find ways to reduce risks of harm. The community dialogue was broadcast by Inside Essex County Radio.

Indian Country Initiatives

The Blackfeet Tribe in Browning, Montana, initiated a series of events with the theme of “Victims' Rights – Blackfeet Values.” A conference featured two full days of speakers, songs, prayers, and information about the problems of crime and how to address them within the context of traditional Blackfeet culture. Resource tables featured informational brochures from service providers, as well as child safety restraint information provided through the Indian Health Service Environmental Program. Other aspects of their NCVRW public awareness campaign featured a traditional meal and a pow-wow.

Collaboration With Community Service Programs for Juvenile and Adult Offenders

The Siskiyou County Victim Services Program in Yreka, California, coordinated with the County Probation Department and provided juvenile and adult offenders an opportunity to help assemble victims' rights ribbons and attach them to NCVRW informational pin cards as partial fulfillment of their community service obligations. During the month of April, Victim Services Program staff distributed over 2,000 ribbon cards to community members, local agencies and service providers.

Engaging Correctional Agencies

In Arizona, the Department of Corrections sponsored programming focused on victims' issues during the weeks prior to and during NCVRW. Inmates participated in a NCVRW poster contest and submitted over 50 different posters. The winning poster was duplicated and displayed at all state prisons. The focus on victims' rights made such an impact on the inmates that they raised over $18,000 for the non-profit Arizona Coalition of Victim Services. Arizona inmates also built four memorials to crime victims throughout the state. In one instance, a large memorial made out of flagstone was handcrafted by inmates over several weeks and was erected in front of the County Courthouse.

Interfaith Agency Collaborations

Prior to NCVRW, three victim service agencies in Everett, Washington, including Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, collaborated to provide educational presentations to different interfaith and civic groups in Snohomish County. Through these presentations and media publicity prior to the event, the group was able to broaden its base of support for its primary NCVRW events – a candle lighting event, a healing ceremony and resource fair at a local church.

Additional Tips to Promote the 2005 NCVRW Theme

  • Utilize this year's “25th anniversary” of NCVRW to promote “25 rights and services” available to help victims of crime in media outreach, speeches and public presentations, and public displays and visuals. For example:

    - Victim compensation
    - Victim notification
    - Victim protection and safety
    - Victim impact statements
    - Participation in justice proceedings
    - Victim restitution
    - Victim information and referrals
    - Compliance with victims' statutory rights
    - Assistance with understanding and exercising victims' rights
    - Crisis intervention
    - Needs assessments
    - Counseling
    - Safety planning
    - Court accompaniment
    - Safe and separate waiting areas
    - Provision of translators and interpreters
    - Transportation
    - Housing and relocation
    - Victim support groups
    - Employer advocacy and intervention
    - Employment and job training
    - Legal advocacy
    - Assistance in pursuing civil remedies
    - Assistance with immigration status
    - Referrals for social services

  • Create a visual depiction of the “Paving the Path to Victim Justice” overview in this Guide to highlight landmarks of the past 25 years in your jurisdiction that have improved victims' rights and services. During NCVRW events and observances sponsored in your jurisdiction, prominently display the visual as a backdrop or special feature of the event.

  • In advance of NCVRW, provide the theme “Justice Isn't Served Until Crime Victims Are” to allied professionals who work with victims and survivors of crime in your jurisdiction and ask them to address, “What does this theme mean to me?” With their permission, feature their responses during NCVRW events and media outreach with full attribution.

  • Create a visual display for NCVRW observances of 25 pillar candles (silver, blue or white) and place a placard with each candle that designates one of the 25 rights and services for crime victims (included in this section). During the event, 25 victims and service providers can come forward, read the right or service, and light that candle to celebrate your accomplishments over the last 25 years.

  • During NCVRW, present “Serving Victims, Serving Justice” awards to 25 people who have made a difference in the treatment and lives of victims of crime in your jurisdiction or community.

  • Enlist elementary school children to decorate silver bells for crime victims, and present the bells to local victim programs for distribution to victims in your community as mementos of the commemoration of the Silver Anniversary of NCVRW. Another option would be to ask the children to decorate the bells with words of hope for crime victims and display the bells in a prominent way during all NCVRW events, or at some central community location such as the courthouse.

  • Create a visual for NCVRW of a large “Justice Tree.” Ask participants as they enter the venue or during the event itself to come forward and place a leaf on the tree, on which they have written what justice means to them, or why victim services are important.

  • In honor of the 25th anniversary of NCVRW, create visuals for display during local events by creating large silver and blue cardboard or paper bells to place on the walls of the venue. On each bell, write one of the quotations included in this Resource Guide. On silver bells, write quotations that relate to justice; on blue bells, write quotations that relate to service.

  • Approach the local print media in your community. Explain NCVRW and its purpose, theme and Silver Anniversary. Present the idea of a full week of opinion/editorial columns or feature articles, with each day focusing on a specific crime, how victims of that crime were treated 25 years ago and how they are treated today. Each day could be sponsored by a different victim service program or coalition (for instance, the local sexual assault center, the local domestic violence program, the local prosecutor-based program, etc.). A template for this concept, “ A Crime Victim's Experience: Then and Now," is included in the "Working With the Media" section of the Resource Guide.

  • Create door hangers that can be distributed to homes and businesses that either publicize NCVRW events or provide information about victims' rights and services. Templates for door hangers that can be easily printed with a desktop printer are available in most business supply or computer stores and office supply catalogues.

  • Ask local restaurants to donate 25¢ per customer to local victim assistance programs during NCVRW. Another option is to ask restaurants to "round up" each customer's check paid that day to the next dollar, and donate the funds to local victim assistance programs.

  • Create "wish lists" of donations and services needed by local victim assistance programs, and give these lists to local businesses, service organizations or jurisdictional Departments of Corrections and adult and juvenile community corrections departments. Explain NCVRW and its purpose, theme and Silver Anniversary. Request that wishes be fulfilled during 2005 NCVRW as a way of demonstrating that "Justice Isn't Served Until Crime Victims Are."

  • Ask your local churches to let their bells toll 25 times on a specific date, at a specific time.

  • A public awareness idea implemented by the Dallas County Community Supervision and Corrections Department during 2004 NCVRW was a Safety Fair at one of the local malls. Tables were set up in the middle of the mall and staffed by local victim advocacy groups to distribute brochures and inform visitors in the mall about victim services and programs. Entertainment was provided on the mall stage, as well as featured speakers discussing crime victimization. Outside the mall, numerous local law enforcement and fire departments displayed their police cars, motorcycles, DWI mobile units, emergency mobile equipment, etc. The sheriff's department did free Vehicle Identification Number etching on cars, and a unit from the Texas Department of Public Safety offered renewals of driver's licenses. Costumed volunteers, including McGruff the Crime-fighting Dog, used donated cameras to take pictures of children standing by any police or fire vehicle they chose.

  • If your community has a memorial garden for crime victims, plant flowers that resemble bells in honor of the 25th anniversary of NCVRW.

  • In early preparation for the Silver Anniversary of NCVRW, check design and craft stores during and after the holiday season for silver bells and silver ribbon to help set the stage for events and observances during NCVRW.
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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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