National Crime Victims' Rights Week
Chances are high that there are members of your parish who have been the victim of some sort of crime. While we often think of victims in terms violent crimes such as murder or rape, far more people are victimized through non-violent means, such as identity theft or property crime, each year.
During 2011, the rate of violent victimization increased 17%, from 19.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2010 to 22.5 in 2011. The rate of property crime increased 11%, from 125.4 per 1,000 households in 2010 to 138.7 in 2011. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization, 2011, October 2012)
Victims of crime can face both physical and emotional trauma. While the former is typically straightforward, the latter varies widely from person to person and may manifest itself in different ways – even years after the event. Understanding victimization can help.
Among many other symptoms, victims of crime may develop trust issues, have trouble sleeping, or have flashbacks. They may feel denial or become angry.
Then people can be re-victimized by law enforcement, the legal system, friends and family who either question the validity of their statements or who imply that the victim brought the crime upon themselves. Accepting and believing are the first steps anyone can take to help a victim cope.
The National Center for Victims of Crime provides a variety of resources for both victims and the people who care about them. There is also a section on talking to children about tragic events.
A significant part of providing service to victims of crime is self-care. NCVC also provides resources for caregivers to ensure they remain resilient in their work.
Since 1981, National Crime Victims' Rights Week has been observed in April to bring awareness to the rights and needs of victims of crime. More information including posters you can use today can be found at the Office for Victims of Crime website and at the National Center for Victims of Crime.