RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections this week is holding events to recognize Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which runs April 10 through April 16. The Victim Services Unit of the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) provides notification assistance and referral services to victims of offenders in the custody of the Department.
The theme for the 2016 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope. “Through awareness and action, our Victim Services Unit adheres to the idea that the Department has a role in serving victims, building trust, and restoring hope, effectively helping victims as they rebuild their lives,” said VADOC Director Harold Clarke.
In 2015, more than 1,400 new victims were registered for notification through the Victim Services Unit (VSU). Registered victims are notified of offender transfers, work release, name change, escape, interstate compact, civil commitment, death, release, and parole events.
Additional services provided to registered victims included explanation of the criminal justice process, referrals, and the Victim/Offender Dialogue Program. The VSU also assists with victim awareness education for Department staff and impact of crime education for offenders.
This week, the VSU will offer Department staff information on local and statewide victim related services. The VSU has encouraged facilities to assist offenders in developing posters for entry in a competition to mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Entries will be judged by how well they incorporate this year’s theme, reflect accountability, and encourage victim empathy.
“For victims, our 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,” said VSU Director Wendy Lohr-Hopp.
This week is 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 on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.