City of Jacksonville Shows Support for Crime Victims

April 12, 2008  

Residents, city officials and community leaders will join for series of events sponsored by the Mayor's Victim Assistance Advisory Council (VAAC) to recognize crime victims as part of the local observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 13-19, 2008.

This year's theme, “Justice for Victims, Justice for All,” indicates that there will be no justice if a community does not work together to seek greater fairness for crime victims. Coinciding with public rallies, candlelight vigils, and other activities held across the nation, events will honor victims, their families, and those who serve them.

“Through The Jacksonville Journey, we are working hard to strengthen our neighborhoods and the lives of people in them, and to bring an end to the senseless crimes and violence which continues to plague our city,” said Mayor John Peyton. “Supporting crime victims is a critical part of that equation.”

Kickoff news conference
WHEN: 1 p.m., Monday, April 14
WHERE: Hemming Plaza (Downtown across from City Hall, 117 W. Duval St.)
WHO: Judge Lance Day
Undersheriff Frank Mackesy, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Roslyn Phillips, Chief Community Officer, Mayor's Office
Jay Plotkin, Chief Assistant State Attorney
Ann Dugger, Justice Coalition
Rich Komando, VAAC chair and Circuit Director 4th Judicial Circuit
Crime victims and concerned citizens
WHAT: As the community faces the devastating implications of violent crime, leaders will outline the importance of this designation and what is being done reverse these trends and enhance Jacksonville's quality of life. This event is free and open to the public..

Victim Services Center Open House
WHEN: 1:45 p.m.
WHERE: Victim Services Center, 403 W. 10th St.
WHAT: Victim Services Center staff will provide tours of the facility and distribute information about services. This event is free and open to the public.

Strength in Unity March
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15
WHERE: March starts at The Jacksonville Landing, 2 Independent Drive
WHAT: Members of the community, including those who have been victimized by crime, will demonstrate that the community can better support victims by standing together for justice. Participants will march across the Main Street Bridge to Friendship Fountain Park where a memorial tribute and candlelight vigil will be held. This event is free and open to the public.

Memorial Tribute and Candlelight Vigil
WHEN: 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 15
WHERE: Friendship Fountain Park, 1015 Museum Circle
WHO: Hosted by Compassionate Families in cooperation with the VAAC
WHAT: Following the march, crime victims' will be honored as their names are read aloud during a candlelight vigil. This event is free and open to the public.

The Impact of Violent Crime on Youth Seminar, Resource Arena and Victims' Rights Week Annual Awards Luncheon
WHEN: Thursday, April 17
9-11 a.m. Workshop
11-11:30 a.m. Resource arena
11:30-1 p.m. Luncheon
WHERE: Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel, 225 E. Coastline Dr.
WHO: Council Member Glorious Johnson
School Board Member Betty Burney, Duval County School Board
Roslyn Phillips, Chief Community Officer, Mayor's Office
Edgar Mathis, Department of Juvenile Justice
Dr. Christine Rasche, University of North Florida
Cathy Chadeayne, moderator
WHAT: The seminar will feature a panel of experts who will speak about the impact of violent crime on youth.

The award luncheon will honor extraordinary individuals and programs that provide services to crime victims. The VAAC will present awards in the following categories: Courageous Victim,
Outstanding Victim Advocate, Judicial Victim Advocate, Law Enforcement Victim Advocate and Media.

This event is open to the public. The cost of lunch is $25 per person and the seminar is $10 per person. Tickets for the seminar and lunch combined $30 per person. For reservations call Patricia Alexander, (904) 630-6331 by April 7, 2008.

Jacksonville's observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week is sponsored by the Mayor's Victim Assistance Advisory Council, City of Jacksonville Behavioral and Human Services Division, Justice Coalition and Compassionate Families.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is a time for all Americans to learn about victimization, reflect on the societal costs of crime and promote laws, policies and programs to help crime victims rebuild their lives.

During the past three decades, the U.S. has made dramatic progress in securing rights, protections and services for victims of crime. Every state has enacted victims' rights laws; law enforcement agencies give victims greater protection and more than 10,000 victim assistance programs have been established throughout the country.

Despite these advances, many crime victims have not experienced the promise of such progress. Only a fraction of victims report the crimes against them and participate in the criminal justice system.

Victims' rights vary from state to state. Not all protections are enforced. Services are not always available, or they may not meet the physical, financial and psychological needs of the victims or their families.

Particularly vulnerable populations—the elderly, disabled, ethnic or racial minorities or residents of rural areas—may not receive the support they need to rebuild their lives.

The U.S. Department of Justice will launch National Crime Victims' Rights Week in Washington, DC, with its annual National Candlelight Observance Ceremony on April 10, and Awards Ceremony on April 11, to honor extraordinary individuals and programs that serve victims of crime.

For more information about Jacksonville's events, visit the Victim Services Web site. For additional information about National Crime Victims' Rights Week,