Recognizing Crime Victims’ Rights

In any given year, between 15,000 and 18,000 Kitsap County citizens are victimized by crime.
Kitsap County’s law enforcement officials, county commissioners and prosecuting attorney on Monday gave official recognition to victims rights and needs, as the county observes Kitsap County Crime Victims’ Rights Week, part of a national observation, April 22-28.
Prosectuing attorney Russ Hauge said, since he took over the office in 1995, he’s seen an increase in “the number of people who have come in contact with crime. … In those instances lives are changed.”
Among the most prevalent crimes are DUIs, with 1,726 cases, including 5 vehicular homicides, referred for prosection last year.
Marcia Masters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who brought a display board with pictures of drunk driving victims, commeded the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and local police offices for their “compassionate” handling of DUI vicitims.
“It’s really important to remember we’re in the people business,” said Sheriff Steve Boyer. “Every one of these victims, as you can see from the board, has a face.”
Domestic violence and sexual assault are also prevalent crimes. Last year, 2,870 cases of domestic violence and 698 sexual assault cases were referred for prosecution. Of the 2,198 clients served by Kitsap’s Sexual Assault Center, 294 were children 12 and younger.
Each year, only a fraction of crime victims take part in the prosection process. The elderly, the young, vicitms of sexual assault and domestic violence all need support to overcome feelings of shame and fear of reprisal, Hauge said.
Commissioner Chris Endresen, who chairs the board, noted that serving crime victims is “not inexepnsive,” but it’s a worthy expenditure. She encouraged citizens to think of the people behind the numbers as they write their property tax checks, which are due at the end of the month.
“We must remain united in our commitment to ensure that every crime victim is treated with compassion and respect, recognized as key participants within our system of justice, and afforded services that provide help and hope to them,” she said, reading from the proclaimation.

2 thoughts on “Recognizing Crime Victims’ Rights

  1. If the county was really serious about crime they would take the criminals off the street. Let us hear how many crimes are committed by repeat offenders, especially auto thiefs. In one door and out the other is the name of the game.

  2. Victums…especially the kids, need compassion and effective therapy.
    Most of all they need to know the person who hurt them is put away.

    Of the…

    “…2,198 clients served by Kitsap’s Sexual Assault Center, 294 were children 12 and younger….”

    how many were committed by the same person?

    We need to make the sentence so tough, it will give other predators pause, hopefully to keep another person from being a victim.
    Sharon O’Hara

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