Keeping Crime Victims in Mind

We’re a week early for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, but Kitsap County is getting a jump start tonight with the penning of a resolution acknowledging the pain victims go through.

The county commissioners are expected to sign a resolution — which you can read below — that includes some eye-opening statistics on just how far crime goes in affecting people in our community.

Here’s the resolution in full:

“WHEREAS, Victims may suffer emotional, physical, psychological, and financial harm as a result of crime; and

WHEREAS, A just society acknowledges crime’s impact on individuals, families, and communities, and ensures that victims are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect as they interact with the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, Treating victims with dignity serves the public interest by engaging victims in the justice system, inspiring respect for public authorities and promoting confidence in public safety; and

WHEREAS, We must continue to work to ensure fair treatment of crime victims by providing protections for child and sexual assault victims, ordering and enforcing victim restitution from offenders, and notifying victims of their right to compensation and services, thereby giving hope to victims that the system and society will work to restore dignity and respect their needs and rights; and

WHEREAS, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 18 – 24, provides an opportunity for us to raise awareness of the foundation of victims’ rights-fairness, dignity, and respect-and to recommit to honoring those values by ensuring that all victims are afforded their legal rights and provided with assistance as they face the financial, physical, and psychological impact of crime; and

WHEREAS, 9 homicides were referred for prosecution last year which include 3 domestic violence homicides and  3 vehicular homicides; and

WHEREAS, 1,410 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases, 3 vehicular homicides, and 13 vehicular assaults were referred for prosecution last year. and

WHEREAS, 2,555 Domestic Violence cases were referred for prosecution last year of which 3 were domestic violence homicides, with the YWCA Alive Shelter providing temporary shelter to 55 women and 36 children (providing a total of 3,575 bed nights) and responding to 7,112 crisis, information and referral calls, however turning away 1,432 women and children for lack of space. The YWCA Alive Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap provided services to 150 women and children, and YWCA Alive Legal Advocacy provided services to 1,020 people; and

WHEREAS, 689 Sexual Assaults were referred for prosecution last year (not including  7 pornographic materials cases, and 50 failure to register as sex offender cases).  The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) program performed approximately 127 sexual assault exams, and of these about 46 were for children aged 14 and under.  The Kitsap County Sexual Assault Center served 1,344 clients; and of those, 288 were child victims of sexual assault aged 12 and under, 286 were teen victims of sexual assault,  100 were adult victims of sexual assault, and  339 were adult sexual assault survivors; and

WHEREAS, Approximately 4,000 incidents of possible abuse and neglect of Kitsap County children were reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) in 2009 and 1,254 were accepted for investigation; and

WHEREAS, Kitsap County is joining forces with the Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Kitsap Sexual Assault Center, the YWCA, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), The Domestic Violence Task Force, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), Kitsap Special Sexual Assault Investigations and Victims’ Services (SAIVS), Crime Victims Assistance Center, Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Port Orchard Police Department, Bremerton Police Department, Poulsbo Police Department, Suquamish Police Department, Bainbridge Island Police Department, Port Gamble S’Klallam Police Department, and concerned citizens throughout Kitsap County, Washington State and America to observe 2010 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners designates the week of April 18-24, 2010, as Kitsap County Crime Victims’ Rights Week; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners reaffirms a commitment to respect and enforce victims’ rights and address their needs during 2010 Kitsap County Crime Victims’ Rights Week and throughout the year; and

We express our appreciation for those victims and crime survivors who have turned personal tragedy into a motivating force to improve our response to victims of crime and build a more just community.”

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