Today Begins National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
April 10-16 is known as National Crime Victims' Rights Week, and there are local events scheduled to recognize crime victims and advocate on their behalf.
Officials will gather at the U.S. District Courthouse on Fannin Street at 11 a.m. Monday, April 11, to officially kick off the week's activities. According to the Caddo Sheriff's Office, a proclamation ceremony that morning will involve local, state and federal officials.
Caddo Parish District Attorney James Stewart will be the guest speaker, and the event will be moved inside the courthouse in case it should rain.
At 3 p.m. that day, a private reception will be held in the Caddo Parish Courthouse on Texas Street to honor the memory of former D.A. Charles Scott, who died suddenly in Baton Rouge last April. Scott's family will present the office with a portrait of the late D.A. to hang in the Francis P. Bickham Building on Marshall Street.
At 11 a.m. Thursday, April 14, the Caddo Sheriff's Office is hosting a Crime Victims' Service Awards ceremony at the Sheriff's Re-Entry Facility on Forum Drive. It will honor outstanding agencies that serve crime victims.
A news release from the CSO explains further what the week is all about:
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week honors and celebrates the achievements of the past 30 years in securing rights, protections, and services for victims. The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), passed by Congress in 1984, created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports services for victims of all types of crime, including assistance for homicide survivors, survivors of child sexual abuse and victims of human trafficking as well as rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs among others. VOCA also funds victim compensation programs that pay victims’ out-of-pocket expenses such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.
"Restoring hope for victims starts with focusing on their needs at the earliest possible point,” Sheriff Steve Prator said. "This week provides an opportunity for us to call attention to the programs in our community that are available to do just that by helping victims rebuild their lives."