PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Sitler
Phone: (302) 577-8314
Pager: (302) 247-1132
Date: April 3, 2003
NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS' RIGHTS WEEK TO BE OBSERVED IN DELAWARE
"Victims' Rights: Fulfill the Promise" is this year's theme
(Wilmington, DE): During the week of April 6th through the 12th, Delaware will commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week. This year's theme, "Victims' Rights: Fulfill the Promise," emphasizes America's promise to victims to treat them with dignity and compassion, to identify and meet their needs for social services and to provide them with information about their statutory rights. The Delaware Victims' Rights Task Force, of which the Attorney General's Office is a member, will sponsor local events.
The week begins with an official Proclamation Signing Ceremony with Governor Ruth Ann Minner on Monday, April 7th at 10 a.m. in the Governor's Wilmington office, 12th floor, State Office Building, 820 N. French St. Following the Proclamation signing, there will be an Award Ceremony honoring an outstanding professional, organization and volunteers who have made a difference in the lives of crime victims.
This year's awardees include Special Recognition to outgoing Family Court Chief Judge Vincent Poppiti. The award for Outstanding Professional will be presented to Eleanor Kiesel, an
attorney with Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. This year's Outstanding Organization is the Kent/Sussex Domestic Violence Advocacy Center. Tina Buckingham and Lisa Burroughs, of the Rape Crisis services at CONTACT Delaware will share this year's Outstanding Volunteers award.
The week's other highlight is the annual Victim Tribute on Wednesday, April 9th at 6:30
p.m. at the Modern Maturity Center, 1121 Forest Ave. (Route 8) in Dover. This year's Guest Speaker will be Debra Puglisi Sharp, a survivor of violent crime. In April, 1998, her husband was murdered by Donald Flagg in their home and she was attacked, sexually assaulted, kidnapped and held captive by Flagg for five days. Ms. Puglisi Sharp has spoken publicly about her ordeal and has addressed law enforcement, healthcare professionals and victim advocates in order to help other victims take back control of their lives and assist professionals in understanding the dynamics of victimization and its long-term effects. Her book, Shattered: Reclaiming A Life Torn Apart by Violence, is due to be released in August.
Attorney General Jane Brady and the Department of Justice's Director of Victim Services, Mariann Kenville-Moore, will take part in the evening's program. Brady, who is an annual participate at the Victim Tribute, commented, "This event is an important opportunity to recognize the strength and courage of victims of crime, and to re-affirm our commitment to provide them dignity and respect as well as our support."
Also on display at the Tribute will be the Silent Witness Exhibit, the Clothesline Project, children's artwork, and poems, letters and artwork that express the feelings of victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime.
At the national level, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC). Founded in 1983 by the U.S. Department of Justice and placed within the Office of Justice Programs to implement the recommendations of President Reagan's 1982 President's Task Force on Victims of Crime, OVC provides leadership, support and funding to agencies and organizations throughout the country that provide crime victim assistance.
Since the victims' rights movement began in 1972, over 32,000 laws have been passed at the federal, state and local levels to promote victims' rights and services, including constitutional amendments in 33 states. Today, there are 10,000 community and justice system-based programs to serve the needs of crime victims.