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WHEREAS, the preservation of peace in our communities and protection from violence for all citizens of the Commonwealth are fundamental priorities of government; and
WHEREAS, during the annual Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Commonwealth of Virginia takes the opportunity to recommit to upholding the rights of crime victims and to ensuring victims of crime receive the support, services, and care they need; and
WHEREAS, this year’s theme – Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future. – recognizes the progress and impact of the collaborative work of victim advocates dedicated to serving crime victims, and calls upon all citizens and communities to continue working together to improve the response to all crime victims, honor their rights, and meet their needs in order to build trust in the community, the criminal justice system, and the social services system; and
WHEREAS, it is important that crime victims are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect by victim assistance workers, allied professionals, and criminal and juvenile justice agencies before, during, and after any judicial process; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth provides over $60 million in state and federal funds to support approximately 400 crime victim assistance programs throughout Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Victims Fund, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the Virginia Victim Assistance Network, and numerous other victim advocacy organizations work alongside local victim assistance programs, criminal justice officials, and concerned citizens throughout the Commonwealth to enhance public awareness of crime victims’ rights and available services; and
WHEREAS, a multidisciplinary response, involving collaboration among victim service professionals, criminal justice officials, legal professionals, medical and mental health providers, and community leaders is essential to reach and serve all victims, especially people who are marginalized, have disabilities, or live in remote locations; and
WHEREAS, strengthening the multidisciplinary response by bringing diverse skills, perspectives, and disciplines together in the service of victims also improves and expands the circle of available services;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 7-13, 2019, as CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.