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April 22-28, 2012 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Kate’s Club participated in an opening reception to observe this important advocacy initiative at the Restorative Justice Center on Monday. Atlanta Victim Assistance, Inc. sponsored the event during which several local leaders presented on this year’s slogan: “Extending the Vision, Reaching Every Victim.”
The presenting panel included a chief judge, the Chief of Police, a city solicitor and the mother of a homicide victim. They spoke about the importance of helping criminals realize the impact their actions have on the community, and about the importance of providing a wide range of supportive services to victims and their families. The panel emphasized the observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in order to remember victims, and to increase opportunities to partner with other organizations to educate, assist and provide treatment to the victims of crime.
During the program, a mom and her teenage daughter told the story of her son’s violent murder, and both mother and daughter were overcome with emotion. The entire room silently leaned toward them in a supportive communal gesture.
After the formal agenda, the resource organizations were invited to speak about their programs. Cynthia Daniel, Kate’s Club Program Director, introduced the link between unresolved grief and crime, and highlighted the importance of addressing grief and loss experiences in childhood. Studies at the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center have researched this link and have created responses such as the PeaceZone Program to address the issue in schools. KC Connects has responded to this concern locally in our school-based outreach programs.
In addition to Kate’s Club, Fulton County DA Victims Advocates, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers, West End Medical Center, Atlanta Victims Assistance, Inc., Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, the Atlanta Police Department/Special Victims Unit and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence presented their resources.
In closing the event, Brenda Muhammad, Executive Director of Atlanta Victim Assistance, Inc. asserted that the work of supporting victims is “all about collaboration.”
For more information, go to the Office of Justice – National Crime Victims’ Rights Week website