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It's National Crime Victims' Rights Week

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput wants to remind citizens that every April, the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) 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.

This year's NCVRW will be held April 10-16 and the theme — "Serving Victims, Building Trust. Restoring Hope" — presents the opportunity to highlight the importance of providing needed services at the earliest state of victimization.

Early intervention helps prevent both further victimization and involvement in the criminal justice system, thus addressing the cycle of violence and restoring hope for the future.

In 2015 the Washington County Attorney's Office worked with more than 1,400 victims of crimes committed in the county.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week honors and celebrates the achievements of the past 30 years in securing rights, protections, and services for victims. The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), passed by U.S. Congress in 1984, created a national fund to ease victims' suffering. Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports services for victims of all types of crime, including assistance for homicide survivors, survivors of child sexual abuse and victims of human trafficking as well as rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs among others. VOCA also funds victim compensation programs that pay victims' out-of-pocket expenses such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages.

"I am proud to be able to advocate for crime victims every day," County Attorney Pete Orput said. "My office's commitment to reaching victims of crime is stronger than ever. Our message to them is that they are not alone."