Community offers services for victims

Published 12:06 am Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beginning in 1981, the Office for Victims of Crime has helped lead communities throughout the country by annual observance of National Crime Victim’s Rights Week.

The purpose is to promote victim’s rights and honor victims as well as those who advocate on their behalf. This year, the observance of these victims and their families is this week.

The theme for this year’s National Crime Victim’s Rights Week is “Reshaping the future by honoring the past,” and the theme colors are teal, yellow and black.

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The Office for Victims of Crime encourages the nation to reshape the future of crime victims by seeking rights, resources and protections needed to rebuild their lives. Only by working and thinking together can we overcome victim obstacles.

An estimated 20 million Americans are currently victims of crimes each year, and each crime also affects the victim’s family, friends and community. Crime initiates an emotional, physical, psychological and financial toll of victims who have lost loved ones, life savings and mental health, and often their sense of security.

The National Crime Victims Rights Week celebrates advocates and survivors who through their determination brought rights and resources for victims and have changed the course of history. Today, there are more than 10,000 victim’s assistance programs throughout the country.

However, victim’s rights vary from state to state, and unfortunately, many victims do not know they have legal rights. Further, some victims are still being denied notification when their offender is released. Research shows that only 2 to 15 percent of the victims of crime utilize needed services.

Communities need to strive toward a coordinated, consistent victim response system to bridge these gaps.

By recalling past struggles and triumphs during this national week of observance, we can face the future with hope.

The District Attorney’s office in Adams County provides the services listed above for victims of crime.

The contact person for information regarding the local program and resources is Linda Futrell, and she can be reached at 601-445-7937.

We at The Guardian Shelter for Battered Families know firsthand the large impact that victims of domestic violence suffer while exposed to the physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse in their homes.

We often witness the effects of this lifestyle in the children as well as the adults. We encourage the local community leaders as well as all citizens to become actively involved in your community so that you know what resources are available to you in the event that you know or come to know a victim of a crime in the future.

Please feel to contact the staff of The Guardian Shelter for Battered Families at 601-442-0142 for information regarding this topic.

Donna Miller is the director of The Guardian Shelter.