The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office will host its sixth annual Crime Victims’ Tribute on Monday, in conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which begins Sunday.
This year’s theme — “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” — celebrates the nation’s progress in advancing crime victims’ rights and the ideal of serving all victims of crime. The event, honoring four crime victims and/or their families, begins at noon at the Woodland Opera House, 304 Second St. in Woodland.
Yolo prosecutors launched their observation of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on April 10 with a proclamation presented by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors to Nadine Pinkerton, a Davis resident whose son was severely injured by a hit-and-run driver in 2007. The driver was convicted by a jury last year.
The vision that launched the victims’ rights movement emerged more than 30 years ago. Then, as now, crime victims endured physical and emotional wounds and costly financial burdens. Victims also must endure an often intimidating criminal justice system, and an alarming public tendency to blame them for the crimes against them, said a news release from the Yolo County Victims Services Program.
“Victims have been excluded from courtrooms, disrespected by officials and afforded few rights,” the release said. “They began organizing to confront these challenges and to promote fair, compassionate and respectful responses to victims of crime.”
Since the 1980s, progress has been made in securing rights, protections and services for victims of crime. Every state has enacted victims’ rights laws, and 32 states have constitutional victims’ rights amendments. All states have victim compensation funds, and more than 10,000 victim service agencies have been established throughout the country.
“Yet there is still so much to do,” the release said. “Only a fraction of victims receive crime victim compensation, which is usually limited to victims of violent crime. The victim services system can be fragmented, and agencies and shelters are struggling to keep their doors open in the face of current budget cuts.”
Added Joye E. Frost, acting director of the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice, “Our commitment to ‘extend the vision’ and ‘reach every victim’ will overcome every challenge that confronts us now.
“The vision, determination and passion for justice that inspired our history will help us transform the future for every victim of crime.”
For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to help victims locally, call the Yolo County Victim Services Program at (530) 666-8187 or visit the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office website at www.yoloda.org.
For more ideas on how to volunteer, visit www.crimevictims.gov.