National Crime Victims’ Rights Week for 2020 kicks off Sunday, April 19th and runs through Saturday, April 25th. This year’s theme is:
Seek Justice, Ensure Victims’ Rights, Inspire Hope.
What does this theme mean? What can we do to rise to the occasion and support victims of violent crime? A good first step is to understand why Victims’ Rights are so important!
In order to ensure the right’s of the victims of violent crime, the state of Colorado established the Colorado Victim Rights Act (VRA) in 1993. This VRA has been amended multiple times since being implemented, in order to further ensure the rights of all victims of violent crime; the most recent amendments were made as of September 2019. These rights were put in place so that victims would be able to seek justice, knowing that there were certain insurances afforded to them to help protect them throughout the criminal justice process. These protections cover certain basic principles:
- The victim has the right to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity;
- The victim has the right to be informed of all “critical stages” of the criminal justice process; and,
- The victim has the right to be present and heard at specified critical stages in the criminal justice process.
The VRA covers several types of crime, specifically such crimes that are deemed violent, per Colorado law. These include Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Human Trafficking, and Hate Crimes, as well as several other types of violent crimes (for a full list of crimes covered by the Colorado VRA, go to: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dcj/victim-rights). Upon first contact with the criminal justice system , typically law enforcement, the rights of the victim become active through the duration of the case, including investigation, the court case, trial, and the sentence, be that probation or prison.
So now that we know what the Colorado VRA is all about, how do we work together to inspire hope for victims of violent crime? There are many places where hope can be found, but one of the best is in how you show your support. Support and validation for victims can have a profound impact on their journey to seeking justice and creates hope that they can overcome the trauma they have endured. During National Crime Victim’s Rights Week, share the theme for 2020 to your social media, utilize the #NCVRW2020 hashtag, display/wear the theme colors (Dark Blue & Dark Green), and reach out to your local victim service providers to learn more about violent crime in your community. You can also read our previous post for #NCVRW2018, which summarizes the history of the Victims’ Rights movement.
By supporting victims and survivors in their journey to SEEK JUSTICE, by way of ENSURING VICTIMS’ RIGHTS, we can work together and INSPIRE HOPE for the future!
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