Please join me in recognizing the 27th Annual National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 22-28. This year's theme, Victims' Rights: Every Victim. Every Time, is a call to action across America to ensure every individual who is victimized by a crime receives the rights, services and respect they deserve.
We are proud to have numerous programs in our community that provide victims with crisis intervention, counseling, support, safety planning and advocacy throughout the criminal justice processes. Arizona's victim compensation program helps victims recover from the many costs associated with criminal victimization.
During my career as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, Arizona Attorney General and as your Governor, I have placed great emphasis on crime victims' rights and services. Our efforts have led to significant progress for crime victims. This includes:
* The passage of legislation requiring judges read victims' rights during court proceedings to guarantee them due process
* The creation and appointment of a policy adviser for victims on my staff to monitor the needs of victims and educate Arizonans about victims' rights
* The introduction of legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking from having to list their personal information on public Web sites
* The passage of legislation to provide victims of crime with a free police report
* The money donated by inmates at Arizona's correctional facilities to organizations directly educating, counseling and supporting crime victims throughout the state
This year my office is supporting several bills that will assist and provide services to victims. Please encourage your legislators to pass legislation that advances the rights of victims and expands the services they need.
Additionally, we have created an annual award called the "Triumph Over Tragedy" to recognize a crime victim who has shown incredible courage, progress and ability, in spite of the circumstances he or she endured. This year's honoree is Hilary Griffith, Miss Arizona 2006. Hilary has turned her personal experience with sexual assault into a crusade against sexual violence and assault. Her dedication has made a difference in lives across Arizona.
Next week, and throughout the year, please remember to pay tribute to crime victims and those who dedicate their lives to offer support, counseling and guidance through the criminal justice system. Until every victim reports the crimes committed against them, knows and exercises their rights, and receives the support they need, there is more to be done.
To find out more about your rights, and what you can do for crime victims, please contact my policy adviser for victims, Dan Levey, at 602-364-2235.
Yours very truly,