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National Crime Victims' Rights Week

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first Crime 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. The next National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 23–29, 2006.

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, sample speeches and proclamations, and a short introductory theme DVD for use at NCVRW events and throughout the year. Public Service Announcements for NCVRW.

Each year, OVC conducts an extensive nomination and review process to identify exemplary individuals and organizations to receive one of eight prestigious awards:

  • The National Crime Victim Service Award, 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 Crime Victims Fund Award, recognizing outstanding federal employees whose work exemplifies efforts to hold offenders accountable and contribute deposits in the Crime Victims Fund.
  • The Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services, instituted in 2002 in memory of OVC employee Susan Laurence who helped professionals who had not traditionally served victims to develop effective victim responses.
  • The Special Courage Award recognizing those who have demonstrated extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of crime.
  • The Allied Professional Award recognizing those from a specific discipline outside the victim assistance field for their service to victims and the victims field.
  • The Volunteer for Victims Award honoring those who serve crime victims without compensation, in addition to their other responsibilities.
  • The Federal Service Award honoring individuals for their direct service to victims of federal crime.
  • New in 2006: the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award honoring an individual whose leadership, vision, and innovation have led to significant changes in public policy and practice that benefit crime victims. For information about past award recipients' accomplishments, visit OVC's NCVRW page.

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