Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crime Victims' Rights Month: Commemorating 50 Years of Victim Services

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

Every April, the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) stands with our partners across the state in observance of California Crime Victims’ Rights Month, a time set aside for our state to show support for victims of violent crime, their families, and survivors. This year is even more significant as CalVCP commemorates its 50th year of serving victims of violent crime in California. And through our fifty years, we have been proud to have such great partners throughout the state to aid in providing services, protecting victims’ rights, and making a difference in the lives of thousands of victims of crime. Since 1965, CalVCP has provided over $2.3 billion in services, and we will continue to work with our partners to provide these services for our great state and the people who need them. It is fitting that this year’s theme is “Engaging Communities, Empowering Victims,” as it certainly reflects California’s commitment to increasing community awareness of crime victim issues and examining prevention and safety.

As a community, we must come together to ensure that victims and survivors of violent crime know they are not alone and that their community stands with them. People who have been impacted by violent crime should know that there is help available. We can all work together to ensure that those who commit a crime face justice. As a community, we will ensure that victims and survivors receive the care they need. We must educate those around us about the immediate and long-term impacts of crime and how we can better prevent these crimes from occurring in the first place. By engaging entire communities, we can better extend victim service resources to where they need to be and serve those who need them.

So much is taken away from victims by the crime committed against them, especially their sense of control. We can stand together and help support them so they no longer live in fear or feel powerless. By offering a safe place to turn to, proper legal action, and victim services, we can empower victims to thrive.

Through the month of April, CalVCP will again host a number of events and provide information on activities and events around the state. I invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about what you can do to participate in Crime Victims’ Rights Month, or check out our CVRM page on the CalVCP website.

I ask everyone to not only raise awareness this month, but to spark action in your communities. Take the time to understand victims’ rights and educate yourself about the services available to all victims. We are looking forward to engaging all of you this month, and I challenge everyone to keep this conversation moving forward year-round. As a community, we can spread the conversation about victim rights and work to end violence.

Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.