Crime Victims’ Rights Ceremony to Honor Victims of Crime in Texas

Austin, Texas — There are victims of crime every second of every day throughout our nation and here in our home state of Texas. Tonight we light candles and challenge the nation to reflect on victims and their families and the professionals who serve them. This year’s theme includes extending the vision to reach every victim of crime. Barbara Jordan once said, “We have a positive vision of the future founded on the belief that the gap between the promise and reality of America can one day be finally closed. We believe that.” —BARBARA JORDAN (1936 — 1996)

The Texas observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being organized by the Austin area victim service agencies coalition in cooperation with the Texas Victim Service Association (TVSA). The kickoff event is Thursday night at 7 P.M. Victim’s of crime will be in attendance and will participate in the ceremony; including a victim of drunk driving who suffered a traumatic brain injury, family members of murder victims and an adult survivor of child abuse. They will be available for interviews along with the leaders of all the statewide and local crime victims’ rights groups.

Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 7pm
First United Methodist Church
1201 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701

This year’s theme—Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim—celebrates the vision behind the progress of honoring crime victims, advancing their rights and the ideal of serving all victims of crime. The vision that launched the victims’ rights movement emerged more than 30 years ago. Then—as now—crime victims endured physical and emotional wounds, costly financial burdens, an often hostile criminal justice system, and an alarming public tendency to blame them for the crimes against them. Victims were often excluded from courtrooms, disrespected by officials, and afforded few rights. They began organizing to confront these challenges and to promote fair, compassionate, and respectful responses to victims of crime.

During the week that brings greater awareness to victim issues, timing could not be more appropriate. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are formally considering the reauthorization of the Violence Against Woman Act (VAWA).

The following organizations will be participating in the kickoff event:

Office of the Governor
Office of the Attorney General
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
People Against Violent Crime
MADD Texas State
Texas CASA
Texas Council on Family Violence
Travis County District Attorney’s Office
For the Love of Christi
TDCJ Victim Services Division
Texas Victim Services Association
Texas Department of Public Safety
United Way Killeen
Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue
Texas District & County Attorneys Association
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
Travis County Sheriff’s Office
Texas Legal Services Center
Austin Police Department Victim Services
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
John & Mary Brantley
Debbie Weiss & Catherine Rains