Crime victims and supporters walk through downtown.

DOC Helps Honor Victims of Crime

By Bryan Bass
RALEIGH -- More than 100 people gathered at the Capitol on April 10 to honor victims of violent crime, focus attention on victims' loved ones and promote healing.

The ceremony, "Stars in the Sky," marked the start of National Crime Victims Rights Week in North Carolina. A week is set aside once a year to honor and commemorate victims of crime. This year's theme, "Dare to Dream," was chosen in recognition of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which became effective in July. As a result of the legislation, victims have the right for information and notification from the time a crime occurs to the end of their involvement with the criminal justice system.

As part of the ceremony people affected by crime were invited to speak.

Jeffrey Kulp, whose wife was killed by a drunk driver in 1998, said "Every great crusade begins with one person's dream." He went on to say that he would like more attention placed on "the people not with us in hopes that no one else will have to endure what we have."

Kulp is now raising his two young daughters alone.

Wayne Uber's twin brother was murdered by a co-worker in 1995. He said, "The lesson I've learned is that it (violent crime) just doesn't make sense." Uber said he would like to see more of an effort to keep habitual offenders incarcerated, a greater amount of communication, and new legislation and financial relief to help victims.

During the ceremony, Attorney General Mike Easley read a proclamation from Governor Jim Hunt designating April 9 to 15 as Crime Victims' Rights Week.

After the ceremony, Karen Taylor George, DOC victim services administrator, said, "The Department strives to provide services to victims and we recognize the importance of victims. This week we hope to bring attention to recent legislation for victims and how we can help victims."

Department of Correction joined an interagency effort to host the ceremony. The agencies included the Attorney General's Office, North Carolina Victim Assistance Network, Wake County District Attorney’s Office, Coalition Against Sexual Assault, MADD NC State Office, State Capitol Police, Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff's Department, and the U.S. Attorney's Office - Eastern District.

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