James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor
Joe Hamilton, Acting Secretary
Patty McQuillan, Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926

Advocacy Groups Join Forces To Honor Crime Victims

April 14, 1999

For more information, contact: Tracy Little at (919) 716-3688

RALEIGH – A coalition of state and local victim advocacy organizations, led by the Department of Correction Victim Services, will come together April 29 to honor crime victims and survivors as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

A ceremony centered on the theme "Victims’ Voices: Silent No More" will begin at noon April 29 on the State Capitol grounds. Church bells in downtown Raleigh will toll for one minute to set the stage for event speakers, who include Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker and Catherine Smith, executive director of the N.C. Victim Assistance Network. Also scheduled to speak are Saundra Dockery, who lost her daughter to homicide, Chelsea and Michael Wood, who lost their father to homicide, and Maria Pavon, a domestic violence survivor. The formal ceremony will conclude with the planting of a tree on Capitol grounds in honor of all crime victims.

Prior to and after the formal program, victim advocacy agencies will display educational materials and will be available to explain victim services across the state.

The theme of the national celebration "Victims’ Voices: Silent No More" is particularly significant in North Carolina as victims’ rights guaranteed by the state Constitution will be enacted into law on July 1, 1999. State voters overwhelmingly approved the victims’ rights constitutional amendment in 1996 and lawmakers passed the enabling legislation for the amendment in the 1998 legislative session. The new law will require law enforcement, prosecutors and custodial agencies to provide notification to registered victims when there are status changes of offenders convicted of specific crimes.

In addition to the Department of Correction, other agencies sponsoring the event include the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Conference of District Attorneys, Helping All Loved Ones Survive, Interact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, N.C. Victim Assistance Network, Raleigh Police Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Wake County District Attorney’s Office and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office

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