Friday, April 27, 2012

Honoring Victims Throughout the State of Florida

April 22 – 28 marks National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which has the theme “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim.” On Monday, President Barack Obama made an official proclamation for the week, asking Americans to observe the event by volunteering to serve victims in their times of need or raise awareness for victims’ rights and services.

At the National Crime Victims’ Service Awards Ceremony held last week, the Office for Victims of Crime paid tribute to crime victims and survivors and paid homage to organizations and individuals that displayed exceptional service to victims. (You can see and read more about all the award recipients here.)
Cities throughout the state planned events to commemorate the week, and the following are a few of the events that happened throughout the state:

  • On Monday, Tampa started its recognition for NCVRW with a program led by state officials including Attorney General Pam Bondi and States Attorney Mark Ober. The ceremony also offered victims’ assistance information and a full resource fair that highlights Tampa’s Victim Assistance Program.
  • The Florida Coastal School of Law offered a continuing legal education course on how to represent victims on crime to honor National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Jacksonville on Friday morning.
  • Alachua County held a candlelight vigil on Wednesday evening where victims and survivors of violence were invited to light a candle in honor or memory of someone who has been affected by violence. 
  • On Thursday evening in Marion County, 300 people attended the Victims’ Remembrance Ceremony that honored about 150 victims of violence. 
  • In Clearwater on Sunday evening, a candlelight vigil was held to commemorate Trayvon Martin and commemorate the beginning of NCVRW. 
  • About 150 people participated in the first ever Jog for Justice in St. Augustine to commemorate the area’s NCVRW celebration on Tuesday.

Florida crime scene cleanup company Accident Cleaners and Restoration has taken part in many victims’ rights events throughout the course of the year and is also affiliated with the Florida Network of Victim Witness Services and the National Organization for Victim Assistance. The company also offers resources for any victims of crime on its website.

Crystal Pinkston, co-owner of Accident Cleaners and Restoration, realizes how important it is to honor victims, survivors, and advocates not just for this week, but also year round.

“This is not only a time to reflect on the Victims and Survivors, but also a time to honor, respect, and pay tribute to those who are dedicating their lives to helping others,” Pinkston said. “As a company that features employees with experience in firefighting, emergency medical services, and law enforcement, we know first-hand that serving others day to day can be a hard job, both emotional and physically. The burnout is high and the appreciation is low. It’s an important job, and just like others who are serving the public, we are here to take on the task.”

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