Ready Access to Support Services is Inherent to Victims’ Rights
Over three decades ago President Ronald Reagan enacted legislation to mark one week in April as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year the national observation will take place April 10-16, 2016. The observation is to promote victim rights and easier access to victim services. Slow access or ineffectual access to victim support services prolongs a victim’s pain and broadens the scope of negative impact from crime. For this reason, ready access to support services is inherent to a victims’ rights.
Over 20 million Americans become the victims of crime each year. Crime affects people of every age, race, sex or economic background. Healing can began for individuals, families and communities when victims receive intervention services. However, in addition to becoming victims of crime, many face added challenges in terms of having access to such services. Those with a disability, cultural or language inhibitions, the elderly and people of color often fail to get the help that they need to heal and recover.
Reagan’s recognition of the rights of victims has resulted in a national pause each April to honor those who help victims overcome hurdles. Victims have the right to be heard, the right to be treated with fairness and dignity and the right to public aid in dealing with the personal ramifications of criminal behavior. Those who demonstrate exemplary service in supporting victims’ rights are recognized at the nation’s capital each year.
The theme for this year’s observance is Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope. The theme outlines the goal of victim support – to offer services in a timely manner that will rebuild trust in the community’s ability and interest in helping. The sooner that victims are offered resources for healing, the less powerful the ripple effects of crime become on the broader community.
At the St Joseph YWCA we are confronted daily with the realities of victims’ needs toward advocacy, help and healing. Read more about our Victim Services program today, including the Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children, a Rape Crisis program, a crisis hotline, professional counseling for victims, and the Bliss Manor Housing Program. If you are a victim in need of immediate assistance, call our 24-hour hotline at 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477.