LANSING, MI – The New Citizens Press Community Action Network (TNCPCAN) in commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), April 2-8, 2017, hosted a special dinner and ceremony at Lansing City Hall to raise awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and introduce the community to the important resources and services available.
Last year, over 5 million individuals were a victim of a crime, and there were nearly 15 million property victimizations (according to the 2015 National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics).
On Monday, April 10, 2017, TNCPCAN commemorated the advancement of victims’ rights and highlighted issues surrounding victimization by partnering with Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Carol Siemon and several Victim Rights Specialists from her office. This is the first year that victims and families had the opportunity to reconnect with Victim Rights Specialists. They also honored friends and family as champions in advocating for expanded support and services to communities affected by crime.
Carl Siemon said, “In our office, we work to provide some measure of justice for crime victims and their survivors. But whether the sentence is one year, ten years or life – whether there is any jail time at all – we can never return what has been lost, or provide the forever elusive quality known as “closure”.”
The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) of the U.S. Department of Justice leads communities throughout the country by promoting victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s theme - Strength. Resilience. Justice. - emphasized the importance of multidisciplinary responses and building the capacity of individuals, service providers, and communities to respond to crime and support the ongoing healing of victims and survivors. The theme also supports encouraging research, addressing emerging issues, and building the capacity of victim service organizations by increasing the use of technology and training.
Siemon added, “The best we can hope for could be just a small measure of justice. An accounting of the truth. An opportunity for the victim to be heard. Our staff works to serve the cause of justice, and that includes involving crime victims and survivors with support, and the right to have their voices heard in the system.”
Vivian Bodiford remembered her son, James “Jay” Edward Jones III, who was a victim of homicide. Mrs. Bodiford has been working with TNCPCAN for almost 10 years. James, was murdered along with his fiancee', Miranda Garza, in a double homicide in May of 2008.
“I believe that some people do not take crime seriously. Some people have the attitude that if it has not happened to me, it does not matter to me. Victims usually do not get as much support as they should. If more people were involved before a crime happened we may be able to curb the amount of crime that occurs. Even if they do not know specifically what to do they can support us at events like this. I do not want anyone to experience what my family did. The pain never goes away.”
For additional information about this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to assist victims in your community, please TNCPCAN’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheNewCitizensPressCommunityActionNetworkInc/about/?ref=page_internal or call 517-372-8466.