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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, honoring the rights of crime victims, including the right to be heard and to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect, and working to meet the needs of crime victims, is only right and builds trust in the criminal justice and social service systems; and
WHEREAS, it is important that crime victims are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect by criminal and juvenile justice agencies and by victim assistance and allied professionals before, during, and after any judicial process; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth provides over $70 million in state and federal funds to support approximately 375 crime victim assistance projects throughout Virginia; and
WHEREAS, agencies of the Commonwealth, 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, the theme for this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Seek Justice - Ensure Victims’ Rights - Inspire Hope, 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; 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; and
WHEREAS, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an opportunity to recommit to ensuring that all victims of crime receive a comprehensive, trauma-informed response; and
WHEREAS, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth’s Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act; and
WHEREAS, Virginia’s Crisis Response Team, with its interdisciplinary response and coordination, exemplifies both the national theme of Crime Victims’ Rights Week and the spirit of the Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 19-25, 2020, as CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.