RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections this week is holding events to recognize Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which runs April 19 through April 25. This year, Virginia marks the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.
The theme for the 2015 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is Engaging Communities, Empowering Victims. The Victim Services Unit (VSU) of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) provides notification assistance and referral services to victims of offenders in the custody of the Department.
"The Victim Services Unit works closely with crime victims to keep them informed regarding the status of the offenders who harmed them and to answer their questions about how the system works," said VADOC Director Harold Clarke. “The VSU also educates our staff regarding victim awareness and works with offenders concerning the impact of crime – a vital component of our reentry efforts.”
In 2014, more than 1,400 new victims were registered for notification through the VSU. Based on Virginia law, registered victims are notified of inmate transfer, work release, name change, escape, interstate compact, civil commitment, death, release, and parole. Additional services offered to victims include explanation of the criminal justice process, referrals, and the Victim/Offender Dialogue Program.
Reaffirming the Department’s commitment to victims of crime, the VSU will offer training and information sessions to Department staff and other allied professionals this week. VSU is again hosting a poster challenge for offenders, which encourages them to take responsibility for their actions and to focus on the impact of crime on victims.
Engaging Communities, Empowering Victims is a reminder of how critical victim advocacy continues to be for the millions of crime victims who are helped by it each year. For victims, VSU’s services mean that they and their families are not alone to face the physical, mental, and financial devastation of crime without the services and support they need.
This week is also a reminder of the work still before us to collaborate, engage, and empower all those harmed by crime. Services the Virginia Department of Corrections provides to victims help to ensure a comprehensive healing environment for everyone.
More information about the VSU and VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.