RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections’ Victim Services Unit is recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13, emphasizing the theme, “Honoring the Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”
“We continue working to expand services, making our efforts more inclusive and more accessible,” said Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “The Victim Services Unit serves to inform, support, and strengthen victims in the Commonwealth. When victims are strengthened, our entire community becomes stronger.”
The Victim Services Unit ensures that crime victims receive information about their offender, including offender transfer, work release, name change, escape, interstate transfers, civil commitment, death, release, and parole events. VSU also assists victims in understanding the criminal justice system and the judicial process. In 2018, more than 2,300 new victims registered to receive VSU’s services.
VSU oversees the implementation of the Victim Impact: Listen and Learn program and Victim-Offender Dialogue. The program is currently active in 23 VADOC facilities.
VADOC expanded its VSU in 2017 using grant funds to hire regional advocates who have joined forces with local service providers and other professionals to expand services available to crime victims.
"By recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, all of us can recommit to ensuring victims’ rights are respected, including their right to trauma-informed services,” said VSU Director Wendy Lohr-Hopp.
This week, the VSU will offer Department staff information on local and statewide victim-related services. As part of the recognition week activities, offenders have been encouraged to submit posters for entry in an annual competition to mark the week. Entries are judged by how well they incorporate this year’s theme, reflect accountability, and encourage victim empathy.
These events are part of the Department’s efforts to advocate for victims on the road toward a comprehensive healing environment for everyone. More information on VADOC click: www.vadoc.virginia.gov.