A Week to Celebrate Crime Victims’ Rights

Today marks the start of crime victims’ rights week. The week recognizes not only the pain and trauma such victims endure, but also honors those that help them through it.

“Who do you turn to for help when these tragedies happen?” asks Kelly Pelland, the Victim/Witness Coordinator for the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office. “Once the police have left, and the case has been referred to the prosecutor’s office, many victims are left wondering where to go for help or direction.”

But there are organizations in the community aimed at helping victims. “I’d like to honor those advocates who spend their days (and nights) helping our community heal from the devastating losses that come with violent crime,” Pelland said.

At the commissioners meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Pelland will ask the county commissioners to adopt a resolution recognizing April 26 to May 2, 2009 as Kitsap County Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Pelland writes of the pain victims experience:

“Imagine that your house has been broken into, your things rifled through and stolen, and a big mess has been left behind. Your best friend has been killed by a drunk driver. Your elderly mother’s care taker has used her debit card and cleaned out your mother’s bank account. Your eight year old nephew was molested by his stepfather. Your neighbor’s car was stolen and recently recovered with lots of damage. You’ve discovered your brother-in-law has been abusing your sister, and she is fearful for her safety and the safety of her children. You read in the paper about the local bank being robbed at gunpoint or that a child’s body has just been found.”

Pelland cites the below organizations as helping victims get through the pain of a crime:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), The Kitsap Sexual Assault Center, the YWCA, the Kitsap Crime Victims Assistance Center, Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), SAIVS, Safe Havens (through Suquamish Tribe) as well as our law enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorney’s staff provide valuable information, assistance and resources during these crises.

Pelland invites the community to help recognize the work of such advocates.

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