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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, 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 victim assistance, allied professionals, and criminal and juvenile justice agencies before, during, and after any judicial process; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth provides over $67 million in state and federal funds to support 462 crime victim assistance programs throughout Virginia; and
WHEREAS, agencies of the Commonwealth, the Virginia Victim Assistance Network, the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, 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 years’ Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims, recognizes the collaborative work of victim advocates dedicated to serving crime victims and calls upon all citizens and communities to work together to reach all 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, Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an opportunity to recommit the Commonwealth to ensuring that all victims of crime, especially those who are challenging to reach or serve, are afforded their rights and receive a trauma-informed response;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 8-14, 2018, as CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.