Governor Bob McDonnell recognizes April 22 -- 28, 2012 as Crime Victims' Rights Week in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Crime Victims' Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about issues that affect victims of crime and ensure that we are providing needed services to those who have been victims.
Speaking about the proclamation issued, Governor McDonnell said, "One of the core functions of government is ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Unfortunately, every year thousands of innocent Virginians suffer from the devastating impact of crime. These victims experience emotional, physical, psychological, and financial harm. While nothing government does can return all that they have lost, we can, and must, do more to help them heal, recover, and move forward. Just as victimization transcends all economic, racial, and social backgrounds, so do the necessary bipartisan efforts to address this problem."
In October 2010, Governor McDonnell established the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board to assist in developing effective measures to aid victims, hold offenders accountable, and prevent future abuse. As a result of this advisory board's diligence and efforts, legislation was introduced by Senator Mark Herring and Delegate Ben Cline during the 2012 General Assembly session to make the act of strangulation a Class 6 felony. Additionally, advisory board members Senator Jill Vogel and Delegate Jennifer McClellan successfully advanced legislation to provide a circuit court the ability to extend permanent protective orders and require immediate data entry into the Virginia Criminal Information Network. Governor McDonnell also introduced legislation that toughens penalties for repeat drug dealers and sex offenders who victimize a child under 13, and his administration continues to work on aggressive re-entry initiatives to rehabilitate offenders and further reduce victimization in our communities.
Governor McDonnell continued, "This week, I will sign an executive order that renews the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board so that this board can continue its efforts to improve our laws, policies, and procedures to enhance Virginia's response to domestic violence at all levels. My administration remains committed to doing everything possible to ensure that Virginians are safe in their homes and neighborhoods."