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National Crime Victims' Rights Week - Extending the Vision

For National Crime Victims' Rights Week in 2012, EJUSA's new program fits the theme.

Yesterday kicked off the beginning of this year's National Crime Victims' Rights Week, with events taking place in communities all across the country.

We love this year's theme, "extending the vision, reaching every victim," because in our work we've met so many victims who feel disconnected to the services and support that may, or may not, be available to them. We dream of a day our justice system does reach every victim and ensures that they have the help they need to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of crime – regardless of where the crime happens, whether it is solved, or who the victim is.

Over the last year, EJUSA has been slowly building a new program to do more of that. We've been meeting with crime victims advocates and criminal justice reformers, talking with grassroots victims groups in the communities most affected by crime, asking lots of questions, and listening to all of the wonderful family members of murder victims we have come to know through our death penalty work. We've also expanded our board to include people who work with crime survivors.

We've learned that many crime survivors and victims' family members in the hardest hit communities – particularly communities of color – feel that their suffering is less important. They have less access to victims' services and their cases get less attention. The recent shooting of Trayvon Martin was a reminder that some grieving families have to suffer the added insult of being suspect while they bury their sons. The victims' family members in Connecticut who worked for repeal of the death penalty said the same thing about their loved ones' murders.

We are proud to stand with crime survivors this week, and every week, to advocate for the help and dignity they need and deserve. Together, we can change that, and usher in a new paradigm of justice – one that reaches every victim.

**If you know someone who has been the victim of a crime, this is a good week to reach out to them and tell them you're thinking about them. And if you have been the victim of a crime, please know that EJUSA is thinking about you.**

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