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Week focuses on plights of crime victims
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 2014 Barton County crime by the numbers:

478 – criminal cases prosecuted by the Barton County Attorney’s Office

1,200 – traffic cases handled by the BCA

78 – juvenile cases handled by the BCA

151 – child in need of care cases handled by the BCA

33 – care and treatment cases

323 – the number of new crime victims

3,160 – contacts made by a BCA victim’s advocate

2015 crime by the numbers:

131 – 131 criminal and juvenile cases prosecuted

70 – new victims

1,100 – contacts made by a victim’s advocate

 Every year, around 26 million Americans become crime victims. 

In 2014, there were 323 new crime victims in Baron County, and so far this year, 70 new residents have fallen prey to crime.

To call attention to these individuals, the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a proclamation marking this as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week at the request of the County Attorney’s Office, The week of April 19-25, 2015, has been selected to recognize crime victims and those who serve them.  

“This brings us closer to victims of all crimes,” said BCAO Victim advocate Camila Komarek. 

This year’s NCVRW will be held April 19-25 and the is “theme “Engaging Communities. Empowering Victims.” “This presents the opportunity to highlight the diversity of our communities, expand partnerships to serve victims of crime, enhance efforts to meet victims where they are, and empower crime victims as they pursue justice and recovery,” Komarek said. 

Every April, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime helps lead communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf, Komarek said. 

Komarek also recognized the efforts of the Family Crisis Center and its Dell Hayden Memorial Child Advocacy Center, champions in advocating for expanded support and services to communities affected by crime.  

NCVRW honors and celebrates the achievements of the past 30 years in securing rights, protections, and services for victims, Komarek said. The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), passed by Congress in 1984, created a national fund for victim relief. 

Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports victim assistance and services, such as rape crisis and domestic violence programs and victim compensation programs that pay victims’ out-of-pocket expenses such as counseling, funeral expenses and lost wages. 

VOCA has also pioneered support efforts for victims of once-hidden crimes such as domestic and sexual violence. Outreach is increasingly focused on previously underserved victim populations, including victims of color, religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ victims, and immigrant populations to name a few.

“Efforts are being made to ensure that all victims, regardless of their background or the crime committed against them, receive the support they deserve,” Komarek said. 

By approving the proclamation, Komarek said the commission reaffirms its support of victims and shows its appreciation for their efforts at rejoining society.

“Victim empowerment is a central tenant of our work,” said Joye E. Frost, OVC director. “By engaging the entire community, we are able to maximize and leverage existing resources to better serve all victims of crime and provide the necessary support through their journey to healing. This year’s NCVRW theme emphasizes that we all have a role to play.”