National Crime Victims’ Rights Week begins in Greenfield

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GREENFIELD, Ind. – Leaders in criminal justice have kicked off a week dedicated to victimization and the effects crimes have on people, their families, and the communities. National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which takes place each April, runs this year from April 7 to April 13.

On Monday, Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell proclaimed the week for victims of crimes, as several city and county agencies have events planned over the next few days to remember the victims.

Leaders with police and the courtrooms said victims can often be forgotten.

"The victim's voice is forgotten a lot," said Shannon Crull, the victim assistance coordinator at the Hancock County Prosecutor's Office.

Police and detectives make such a push to solve crimes, which for some victims, justice is all they need to cope, but it's not the same story for everyone.

"Some of these things can be very traumatic, they can be very difficult," said Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton. "If we can direct them to counseling, or other services that may help them, that's something we want to do."

In 2018, Eaton's office assisted 1,313 people who were victims of crime. His office also helped secure more than $95,000 in restitution for victims through the court system.

Crull said helping victims understand how the court proceedings will go is also a big step in helping victims. Their understanding of what happens can also lead to more convictions and tougher penalties for the criminals.

"If you've never been a victim of a crime, it may a little difficult for people to understand," said Greenfield Police Chief, Jeff Rasche. "It is a huge event for someone to go through."

This year's theme for the national week is called, "Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope For the Future." The week will celebrate the progress made by those before and look at the future of crime victim services that can be more inclusive, accessible, and trauma-informed.

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