The annual event is held to ensure that victims' voices are heard, and to recognize that they play a vital role in the criminal justice system. Friday’s event put a spotlight on resources for victims that are available in Charlottesville.
More than 30 local, state, and federal agencies gathered to promote victims’ rights on the Downtown Mall.
Organizers say most people know that defendants have rights in the criminal justice process, but many don't know that victims have rights as well. Law enforcement officials are also looking to build a stronger relationship with the community.
“That we have folks who impart their responsibility is to identify the bad actors, the folks who commit violent crimes in communities and bring them to justice,” says Thomas Cullen, U.S. attorney for Virginia’s western district. “But at the same time, we have a holistic model and we want to try to identify, reach out to victims, reach out to the various community groups who have an interest in keeping our community safe.”
Officials say this event is a reflection that victims’ rights are a priority not only for the justice department, but for agencies at all levels.
Event organizers say if you're looking for available local resources, it's best to reach out to your commonwealth's attorney's office, the police department, or the sheriff's office.