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Public Education and Awareness Projects

OVC is committed to ensuring that victims' rights are recognized throughout the criminal and juvenile justice systems and that victims' voices are consistently heard throughout the Nation. As part of these efforts, OVC supports programs that generate greater awareness among victims, survivors, and communities about victims' rights and services. Through initiatives such as National Crime Victims' Rights Week, OVC hopes to build capacity to promote victims' rights and services at the local level. Because these initiatives seek to expand awareness of and compliance with victims' rights, each supports the others in educating the Nation about victims' issues.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first victims' Rights Week, calling for "a renewed emphasis on, and an enhanced sensitivity to, the rights of victims." Each April since then, communities nationwide have held public rallies, candlelight observances, and commemorative activities to promote awareness of victims' rights and needs. OVC coordinates the annual commemoration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) and uses the event to recognize individuals and organizations that demonstrate outstanding service in supporting victims and victim services. OVC also helps communities organize activities and initiatives during the weeklong celebration by supporting the development and dissemination of the NCVRW Resource Guide—a collection of national statistics on crime and victimization, sample press releases, camera-ready artwork, and sample speeches and proclamations. Each year, OVC conducts an extensive nomination and review process to identify exemplary individuals and organizations for the National Crime Victim Service Award and the Crime Victims Fund Award. The Service Award is the highest federal honor bestowed on outstanding advocates, many of whom are victims serving as role models and offering inspiration to others in the field. The Fund Award recognizes outstanding federal employees whose work exemplifies efforts to hold offenders accountable and contribute deposits in the Crime Victims Fund. For information about past award recipients' accomplishments, visit the NCVRW page on the OVC Web site.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week Community Awareness Projects

The National Crime Victims' Rights Week Community Awareness Projects initiative will help advocates raise awareness of victims' rights and services in their communities. The initiative will make up to $5,000 available to organizations in 60 communities nationwide to support innovative outreach and public awareness activities. Specifically, project funds will help defray costs associated with developing educational materials, advertising in print and broadcast media, designing Web sites, and conducting other promotional activities. OVC encourages faith-based organizations to apply for funding under this initiative or to partner with local victim service organizations. For more details, visit the project's home page on the OVC Web site.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week: Summary Report and Planning Document

As National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW) becomes more prominent, and commemorative activities become more meaningful, planning and implementing NCVRW activities becomes more demanding. As a result, it is critical for OVC to plan efficiently and effectively for events, using lessons learned from previous commemorations and improving existing planning and implementation processes. As these events are extremely demanding in terms of coordination and logistics, it is also essential that OVC develop a master planning document, or "blueprint," to assist staff who may become responsible for planning and implementing these events in future years. This blueprint would capture lessons learned, suggestions for improving the process, and outcomes associated with NCVRW events. It would also allow OVC to institutionalize the process for planning and administering NCVRW events.

National Public Awareness and Education Campaign

OVC launched the National Public Awareness and Education Campaign to increase public awareness of and support for victims' rights, issues, and services, and to help victims' voices resonate across the country. This project, which is being conducted through a grant to Justice Solutions, Inc., will develop and implement a national strategy to increase awareness of victims' issues and the role of OVC and the Crime Victims Fund in serving victims. The grantee will create resource materials for use during National Crime Victims' Rights Week (NCVRW), develop awareness activities and supporting resources, and publish an article about OVC, the Fund, and victims' issues in a major national publication. The campaign will also build the capacity of victim service organizations to develop and sustain ongoing public awareness and victim outreach activities at the community level. For more information, call Justice Solutions at 202–448–1710.

OVC Resource Center

The OVC Resource Center (OVCRC) is the field's primary source of victim information. OVCRC's core objectives are to provide information and resources to the field and to support the efforts of national, international, state, military, and tribal victim assistance and criminal justice agencies and other professional organizations in promoting fundamental rights and comprehensive services for all victims. OVCRC's broad practitioner focus includes federal, state, local, and tribal agencies that serve victims and victim service providers, private nonprofit victim service organizations, victim advocacy organizations, victims' rights organizations, and researchers and educators. For more details, visit OVCRC on the OVC Web site.

Oral History Project

The victims' movement is a contemporary example of positive social evolution that, over the past 30 years, has grown into a national agenda for putting victims first. The Federal Government accepted responsibility for national leadership by first convening the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime in 1982 and later establishing OVC to administer the Crime Victims Fund. OVC recognizes that many movement leaders contributed to this evolution. Under OVC's Oral History Project, key contributors to the success of the victims' movement will be interviewed about their involvement in advancing policy and practice. This progress and the impact of the President's task force will be documented in special reports and a videotape. In addition, an online archive that memorializes the field's achievements and identifies its pioneers will be developed. For more information, call Justice Solutions at 202–448–1710.


OVC steadfastly works to put victims first and make their voices heard. To promote and increase the public's awareness of victims' needs and to improve services available to victims, OVC continually fine-tunes its initiatives and creates new ones that enhance its outreach. We hope our initiatives to reach the Nation about victims' rights, services, and issues will result in better and more complete services for all victims of crime.

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