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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.

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.

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 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 Crime Victims Fund Award recognizes outstanding individuals or teams whose work exemplifies efforts to hold offenders accountable, secure deposits in the Crime Victims Fund, and defend the rights of victims to receive restitution.
  • The Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services was instituted in 2002 in memory of OVC employee Susan Laurence, who helped professionals who had not traditionally served victims to develop effective responses to them.
  • The Special Courage Award recognizes those who have demonstrated extraordinary bravery in the aftermath of crime.
  • The Allied Professional Award recognizes individuals from a specific discipline outside the victim assistance field for their service to victims and the victims field.
  • The Volunteer for Victims Award honors those who serve crime victims without compensation, in addition to their other responsibilities.
  • The Federal Service Award honors individuals for their direct service to victims of federal crime.
  • The Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award, first announced during the 2005 NCVRW Awards Ceremony, honors 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 and how to nominate an individual or organization for one of these awards, visit OVC's NCVRW page.

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