Office of Victims of Crime National Crime Victims' Rights Week: April 23-29, 2006 Victims' Rights: Strength in Unity
Photo of hands holding candles aloft in commemoration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week events.
Masquerade Ball

In South Lake Tahoe, California, collaborating agencies hosted a masquerade ball to honor victims of crime and to educate the community about local services available for crime victims. The event was held on the Tahoe Queen, a paddleboat docked on Lake Tahoe, to allow attendees with children the freedom to come and go as necessary. All attendees were required to wear a mask to symbolize the "many masks" worn by victims of crime. Local victims donated time to design and decorate masks so that some masks were available to attendees who were not able to bring one. There were educational displays around the ballroom throughout the event. Toward the end of the evening, representatives from collaborating local agencies gave short presentations regarding services available to crime victims. The evening culminated with a ceremonial unmasking, through which attendees demonstrated their support of crime victims, their recognition of the issues affecting victims, and their dedication to spreading awareness of available resources to crime victims in the community. A comprehensive public awareness campaign through newspapers, radio stations, and e-mail fliers resulted in the attendance of about 100 community members at the masquerade ball.

"Feature a Speaker" Event

In Duchess County, New York, the Crime Victims Assistance Program partnered with the Office of Assemblyman Patrick Manning to cohost "NCVRW: An Evening with Angela Shelton." Angela Shelton is a model, comic book hero, filmmaker, and incest survivor. She traveled across the United States meeting other women who were also named Angela Shelton in an effort to survey women in America. What she was not prepared to learn was that, like herself, 24 out of the 40 Angela Sheltons she met had been victims of violence. In response to her experiences, she created the documentary "Searching for Angela Shelton." At the event, she shared her personal story and screened her film. Through the presentation, more than 125 community members recognized that whether you know it or not, you probably know someone who is a victim of violence. Following the film, all guests were invited to a reception where educational materials and local resources were available.

Community Forums

In Boone County, Missouri, the University of Missouri School of Social Work hosted three brown bag lunches during NCVRW. The lunches were held in a central location on the university campus. Each focused on a different aspect of victimization and featured a speaker who made a short presentation and then led a discussion on the topic.

Community Days

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, NCVRW Community Day was held on a middle school campus in a Weed and Seed neighborhood with approximately 360 community members in attendance. Partners in the area's Weed and Seed neighborhoods created and distributed fliers to churches, businesses, recreation centers, apartments, housing units, schools, and at community events to raise awareness several weeks prior to the event, and ads were placed in the local newspaper. The collaborative partners planned a full day of varied activities that attracted entire families and culminated with a candlelight vigil to remember and honor crime victims. The Winston-Salem State University football players were present as volunteers to play football with the children and help them play on an inflatable slide. Three middle school students were recognized at the event for their leadership roles in their communities by showing other young people that issues can be resolved without turning to violence. Each award winner was presented with a certificate and a $25 gift card. Resource materials in both English and Spanish were provided at the event to foster greater awareness and understanding of crime victims' rights and services.

In Chelan and Douglas Counties, Washington, collaborating agencies held a "Pig Out in the Park" event during NCVRW. The event was held in a large park adjacent to the courthouse. The event featured a barbeque where law enforcement and fire officials cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for guests. Thirty-five nonprofit victim service programs staffed booths, and first responder vehicles gave tours to attendees. Local victim survivors spoke about their experiences from a central stage, where the local high school jazz band and other talents also provided entertainment. Approximately 3,000 people were in attendance from the 2 counties. The event was covered by local English and Spanish media, with more than 60 PSAs aired prior to the event, as well as live coverage during the event. Local newspapers published pre- and postevent articles, as well as an article 30 days after the event to reemphasize the local services and resources available for crime victims. Individual invitations were sent to community professionals and officials. Posters advertising the event were distributed by the high school honor society.

Boone County, Missouri, held a NCVRW kickoff event at the Bass Pro Shop parking lot, which was selected because the store was celebrating its grand opening. The community awareness event focused on crime victims' rights and crimes against children. Local fire trucks and law enforcement cars were available for exploration, and officers were present to provide information. Members from the Safe Kids Coalition presented informational material. Students from the University of Missouri School of Social Work offered free face painting, balloons, and candy for the children, while other students talked to parents and distributed brochures with information about local resources and victim services. The event was covered by local media before and during the event.

Art Exhibits and Contests

In New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University sponsored a victim/survivor art exhibit, "Healing the Wounded Heart," at the Campus Art Gallery during NCVRW. The exhibit had two main functions: to facilitate healing and to raise awareness. The first night of the exhibit, a gallery opening was held. In order to provide a space for survivors of crime to express themselves, time was provided during 2 days of the exhibit for survivors to create their own hearts. Supplies for the hearts, including wooden hearts and various art supplies, were provided. Ten new hearts were created and will be added to the next exhibit.

In Mariposa, California, collaborating agencies hosted an NCVRW youth art contest. Fliers were distributed throughout the local schools that asked youth to participate in creating images, through any medium they chose, of nonviolence or victims' rights. The winner was a clay creation by a 10-year-old girl. The prize was an award certificate and a gift certificate for art supplies.

Poetry Contest

In Allen County, Indiana, collaborative partners sponsored a poetry contest that was open to the public. The theme of the contest was "Overcoming Adversity," with special emphasis on remembering victims, being a survivor, and knowing one's rights. The poems were evaluated by 14 Purdue University-Fort Wayne seniors, all of whom were educated in the area of family violence, using a systematic evaluation tool to analyze each poem. Because of the sensitive nature of the topic of the poems, the last names of the top winners of this competition were not made public. At the Community Awareness and Education Fair, plaques were presented to those who ranked highest in the contest. All 43 poems submitted to the competition were posted on the local victims' rights Web page. The top six poems were printed in the Crime Victims' Rights Community Calendar.

Crime Victims' Rights Community Calendar

In Allen County, Indiana, the Crime Victims' Rights Community Calendar was created by collaborative partners and distributed during NCVRW. There were 1,300 calendars printed for free distribution. Each calendar contained inserts about community service providers; crime victimization locally and nationally; statistical information regarding violence, with a special emphasis on crime victims' rights; and contact information for all community victim service providers, as well as national toll free victim assistance telephone numbers. Each community service provider was given the opportunity to submit special events to be highlighted on the calendar.

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