(STL.News) – April 19-25 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services and stand with families, neighbors, friends, and colleagues whose lives have been forever altered by crime. This year’s theme—Seek Justice | Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope—recognizes the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled the victims’ rights movement forward.
“Our Office works with victims during every stage in the criminal justice process, from investigation through prosecution,” said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. “We prosecuted well over 6,000 felony cases last year; many of those cases involved victims whose lives have been irrevocably altered. Seeking justice for victims requires a team approach, and everyone on the team – police, prosecutors, this Office’s Victims Services Unit and community advocates – is committed to ensuring that victims have a voice and are treated with dignity throughout the process.”
Information for Survivors of Domestic Violence
“During the COVID-19 public health emergency, when many people are staying at home virtually all the time, we know that, for some, home is not a safe place. According to the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, calls for help are up 29% over this same time period last year,” said Attorney General Neronha. “If you are afraid or need help, you are not alone. Please call the RI Helpline at 1-800-494-8100.”
Importantly, courts are still open for emergency matters, including requests for restraining orders. Throughout this public health crisis, the Victim Services Team at the Attorney General’s Office and other victim service agencies are continuing to provide support to crime victims. Our Victim Services Team can be reached at 401-274-4400. A full listing of victim resources can be found here.
NEW: Statewide Automated Victim Notification System
In the coming weeks, the Attorney General’s Office will roll out VOICE, a web-based portal hosted by the Office that provides state agency users, victims of crime, and victim advocates with 24/7 access to critical case information. For the first time, victims will receive real-time notifications from multiple state agencies in one place – the Attorney General’s Office, the Judiciary, the Department of Corrections (Probation), the Parole Board, and the General Treasurer (Crime Victim Compensation Program).
The statewide system will also provide for streamlined collaboration and information sharing among agencies to better serve victims.
“One of the most important ways we work with victims is keeping them informed and empowered throughout the life of a case,” Attorney General Neronha said. “This new, centralized system will be a tremendous resource for victims and victim advocates.”
While National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is traditionally marked in Rhode Island with the Victim’s Grove ceremony, which honors victims as well as public servants who serve victims each day, this year’s ceremony has been postponed to a date later this summer.
“This week, we pause to remember those who have been victims of crime and renew our commitment to securing justice for them,” said Attorney General Neronha. “They are at the heart of our mission.”