‘Justice For Victims And Justice For All'

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Editor:

The Gila County Board of Supervisors marked the beginning of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 13-19, 2008, by signing a Proclamation at their regularly scheduled board meeting on April 8.

An estimated 23 million Americans become victims of crime every year and these victims deserve justice and it is time for our community to stand behind those harmed by crime. Victims want offenders held accountable for their crimes and they want to take part in the process that holds them responsible.

Decades of efforts and hard work have been made to ensure rights, protections and services for victims of crime. In November 1990, Proposition 104 amended the Arizona Constitution to provide us with a Victims' Bill of Rights. The Victims of Crime Act of 1984, now supports thousands of victim assistance and compensation programs throughout the nation. In 1986, the Arizona Legislature established the Crime Victim Compensation Fund.

Victims' rights have come a long way, however, victims still face significant hurdles to attaining real justice. We must realize the tragic toll that crime takes on victims and their families and we must move closer as a community to ease the physical, financial and emotional impact of crime. The impact of crime can leave entire communities feeling less secure.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week reminds us that crime can indeed strike anyone, anywhere. Whether it's a drive-by shooting, domestic violence, a campus massacre or a crippling identity theft, we are all vulnerable to crime.

Our community must strive to protect, expand and observe crime victims' rights so that there truly is "Justice for Victims and Justice for All."

For more information about Victims' Rights and Victim Compensation, please contact the Gila County Attorney's Office of Victim Services at (928) 402-8836.

Liz Fetterman

Gila County victim advocate

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