Only a few decades ago, unfairness, indignities, and disrespect confronted many victims of crime. Victims of Crime in America, the 1984 report of the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, described the indifference to victims’ needs and the focus on offenders in our justice system. In the 25 years since this report was published, a movement has promoted changes to make victims of crime participants, rather than bystanders in the justice system. The 2010 National Crime Victims Rights Week, April 18 – 24, recalls the ideals which inspired the victims’ rights movement with the theme, Crime Victims Rights: Fairness. Dignity. Respect.
In 1980, Wisconsin was the first state to pass a Victims’ Bill of Rights. Now every state has passed their own victims’ rights laws. Today there are more than 10,000 victim assistance programs in the U.S. Despite progress, much work remains. Victims are not always informed of their rights, nor are those rights always enforced. Too few victims receive compensation or court-ordered restitution, and only a fraction receives the services needed to help rebuild their lives. These failures deny victims the fairness, dignity, and respect called for by this movement.
There are resources available to victims of crime in Waushara County that do adhere to the ideals of fairness, dignity, and respect. You can contact these services as follows: Victim/Witness Assistance Coordinator at the DA’s Office (920-787-0407); Domestic Abuse Outreach Office (920-787-3889 or toll-free 1-800-472-3377) and the Waushara Sexual Assault Victims Services (SAVS) Office (920-787-3011 or toll-free 1-800-472-3377).