Crime isn't just a legal issue. It can deeply affect our health, both physically and mentally.
This week of April is National Crime Victims Rights Week.
The National Crime Prevention Council is the council that introduced America to McGruff - a Crime Dog who encouraged us all to "take a bite out of crime". The Council's mission is to educate the population on crime and crime prevention, in schools, communities and at a national level. It also provides training and support, and focuses on all aspects of crime, from bullying to hate crimes and from murder to fraud. And everything in between.
The US Department of Justice operates the OVC - the Office for Victims of Crime. This office provides support, advice, advocacy and financial aid to victims of crime.
Some worrying statistics about crime in America is that every 22 seconds, a person is a victim. Every 31 minutes there is a murder and every 5 minutes there is a rape. Every 28 seconds, a car is stolen.
Domestic violence is a crime! 5.3 million women are abused every year and nearly 10% of men are victims of domestic violence.
Not only do these kinds of crime inflict dangerous (or deadly) physical consequences for a person, the emotional and mental toll can be equally as heavy.
-Can they ever be physically involved with another person in an intimate way?
-Can they trust someone again?
-Can they forgive someone for the crime?
-Can they move on with their own lives after a loved one has been murdered?
Non violent crimes such as burglary, car theft and fraud leave victims with heavy financial consequences and equally burdensome emotional baggage.
-Can they ever feel safe in their home or car again?
-Did the person steal something that can be used to commit even further crimes?
-Will my insurance cover damage?
-How did the criminals know I was away? Am I being followed?
Long after financial aspects have been solved - the emotional ones remain, causing stress, sleeplessness, anxiety and depression.
The Office for Victims of Crime are holding special events all week to acknowledge victims of crime and to empower them to take their lives back.
Attorney General Eric Holder presented acknowledgment awards on April 24th to individuals for their service to crime victims, during the Annual National Crime Victim Awards Ceremony and announced that one hundred million dollars in funds were being made available for victim assistance, recovery and compensation programs.
If you would like more information on how to get involved, or how to get assistance if you have been a victim of crime, click here for the OVC website : http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/welcovc/welcome.html. The website also has a lot of information on events being held this week.
Have you been a victim of crime? From pick pocketing to something more damaging, we'd love to hear your story. How did you cope? Did you receive adequate help? Was the perpetrator caught and punished?
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