The Roundup -

Montana Board of Crime Control Honors Crime Victims' Rights Week

 


On behalf of the Montana Board of Crime Control, I am writing in honor and recognition of Montana crime victims. This week marks the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 21-27, 2013, a week dedicated to raising awareness of crime victims’ issues and to remember crime victims across Montana and the United States.

During 2012, there were 37,013 reported victims of crimes in Montana. Almost 17 percent of reported victims were Montana’s most vulnerable citizens: children and the elderly.

3,723 victims of domestic violence, 367 adult victims of sexual assault, 754 child sexual abuse victims, 1,378 child physical abuse victims, 2,912 elder abuse victims, 212 robbery victims, 8,145 adult victims of assault.

These statistics are staggering. These are real people, real lives – Montanans whose lives have been forever changed. Montana’s crime victims are your parents; your sons and daughters; grandchildren; sisters and brothers; your neighbors and your friends. Yet, these victims represent only reported victims. Many crimes go unreported. Many victims’ voices have not been heard.

Over the past several months, I have heard from countless individuals about what first responders and those who assist victims mean to Montanans. I have spoken with a victim advocate who sat with a mother while her child was dying from injuries received by abuse. I have heard from families who were so appreciative of the victim advocate who stood by them throughout the trial of the man who murdered their child and grandchild. I have heard from victims who have been helped by shelter staff, along with their young children, to escape from abusive homes. These individuals who assist victims often receive low pay and work 24/7 in order to help victims pick up the pieces of shattered lives.

Let us remember and honor these and other stories:

The abduction and murder of a beloved teacher, where the victim services staff has assisted a community in dealing with its grief; a 15-year old rape victim; a mother beaten in front of her children; an employee robbed at gunpoint at her workplace; a victim advocate waiting with a rape victim at a hospital to receive treatment; a victim advocate who served 44 victims in 2009 and over double that – 109 victims in 2011, in an area being impacted by the oil boom; a victim advocate who is the only advocate within a 150 mile radius and who served approximately 250 victims of crime last year; the state Supreme Court Pro Bono Coordinator who serves the entire state by assisting pro bono domestic violence referrals receive services through the court.

This week, take time to remember Montana’s crime victims. Take time to thank our victim advocates, shelter staff, victim witnesses, our law enforcement officers, nurses, doctors and county attorneys, and others who assist victims. Take time to honor those victims whose voices have not been heard.

Please join staff of the Montana Board of Crime Control along with victim service providers from across the state at the State Capitol on Tuesday, April 23, in the Rotunda, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attorney General Tim Fox will make remarks at 12 p.m.

For more information about victim resources, please see the Montana Board of Crime Control’s website at http://www.mbcc.mt.gov.

 

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