Marsy’s Law for North Dakota Commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 19-25)
As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Marsy’s Law for North Dakota commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) and urges all North Dakotans to show their support for crime victims and those most vulnerable to violence. The annual week honoring victims kicked off yesterday and continues through Saturday, April 25.
Marsy’s Law for North Dakota launched a #SupportVictims social media campaign yesterday in honor of NCVRW, including visual aids, videos, and quotes that showcase the fight for victims and highlight the various rights to which victims in North Dakota are entitled since the passage of Marsy’s Law, the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights in Article 1 Section 25 of the North Dakota Constitution. Marsy’s Law for North Dakota encourages advocates, community leaders, law enforcement, and all citizens to wear purple in honor of NCVRW and share their stories in support of equal crime victims’ rights.
NCVRW is a week-long event every April dedicated to raising awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and introducing the community to the important resources and services available. The event is sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime. This year’s national theme - Seek Justice | Ensure Victims' Rights | Inspire Hope - recognizes the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled the victims’ rights movement forward, inspiring in victims and their loved ones a feeling of hope for progress, justice, and healing.
This year, recognition of NCVRW is more important than ever as victims face additional stress and hurdles safeguarding their rights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, officials are releasing offenders early in some cases and courtrooms are closed, inevitably prolonging the legal process and adding to stress for victims. Worse still, victims could be isolated from resources and assistance they desperately need and would otherwise be able to access.
National media outlets such as the New York Times and CBS News and North Dakota outlets including The Bismarck Tribune have also raised concerns about the potential increase in domestic violence and child abuse as movement restrictions and self-isolation have made the threat of violence in homes “more frequent, more severe, and more dangerous.” Now, more than ever, we need to stay vigilant in protecting victims of violence during these trying times.
“Our mission is to bring awareness to crime victims’ issues and rights, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week gives us the ability to further highlight our efforts and bring awareness to Marsy’s Law,” says Nick Klitzing, spokesman for Marsy’s Law for North Dakota. “In the midst of COVID-19, it’s more important now than ever that we join the cause to #SupportVictims as victims are increasingly isolated from assistance and reports of domestic violence and child abuse are on the rise.”
Marsy’s Law for North Dakota is committed to raising awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and providing important resources to victims. The National Crime Victim Law Institute has compiled a list of helpful resources for victims and their families who need assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime has also compiled a helpful resource guide for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.