(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser joins the Department of Justice and communities nationwide in observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, celebrating victims’ rights, protections and services throughout the week. This year’s observance takes place April 19-25 and features the theme, “Seek Justice| Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope.”
Some 3.3 million Americans age 12 and older were victims of violent crime in 2018, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. The Office for Victims of Crime, part of the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, supports more than 7,000 local victim assistance programs and victim compensation programs in every state and U.S. territory. Funds for these programs come from the Crime Victims Fund, which is made up of federal criminal fines, penalties and bond forfeitures.
In the Eastern District of Louisiana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will team up with federal law enforcement, local law enforcement, judicial agencies and non-profit organizations to commemorate the week. Traditionally, NCVRW victim advocates host rallies, candlelight vigils and other events to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services. This year, many communities are organizing virtual gatherings and online public awareness campaigns. Because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, advocates will utilize social media platforms to spread the message. COVID-19 will not hamper the efforts of victim advocates to seek justice, ensure victims’ rights and inspire hope for victims of crime.
“Even during this global pandemic, the mission of our office remains the same; to investigate potential wrongdoing, prosecute criminal behavior and seek justice for victims, stated U.S. Attorney Strasser. “It is extremely important for crime victims to know that we are still here and working diligently to pursue justice.”
NCVRW events began Sunday, April 19 with a virtual worship service for victims of crime broadcast on Facebook Live from the City of Love Church. You will find the virtual worship service and the videos under the hashtags: #NCVRW, #SEEKJUSTICE, #ENSUREVICTIMSRIGHTS, #INSPIREHOPE.
Monday and Tuesday, April 20-21, victim advocates social media postings continue using the previous hashtags: #NCVRW, #SEEKJUSTICE, #ENSUREVICTIMSRIGHTS, #INSPIREHOPE.
Wednesday, April 22, is Wear Denim Day. April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Everyone is encouraged to wear denim and post selfies to show your support for sexual assault survivors. #DENIMDAY, #SEXUALASSAULTAWARENESSMONTH.
Thursday, April 23, victim advocate social media campaign continues. #NCVRW, #SEEKJUSTICE, #ENSUREVICTIMSRIGHTS, #INSPIREHOPE.
Friday, April 24, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office will sponsor a virtual All-White Balloon Release. Citizens are encouraged to wear white in remembrance of those who have died because of violence and to release a biodegradable balloon from the safety of your own property. #VOICESAGAINSTVIOLENCE.
Saturday, April 25, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office will promote a virtual walk for crime victims. Citizens are encouraged to maintain social distancing and take a one-mile Walk for Justice in their neighborhood and to post photographs using the hashtag: #WALKFORJUSTICE.
Agencies participating in this week’s virtual awareness campaign include the New Orleans Police Department; Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office; Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Victims’ Rights Program, Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office; Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office; Plaquemines Parish District Attorney’s Office; Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Louisiana (EDLA); the Drug Enforcement Administration New Orleans Division; the Federal Bureau of Investigation New Orleans Field Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives; Metro Centers for Community Advocacy; Plaquemines Community C.A.R.E. Centers Foundation, Inc.; Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans; Silence is Violence; New Orleans Family Justice Center and Alliance for Safety and Justice.