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A touching remembrance

Hundreds of multicolored ribbons flapping in the breeze near the Godwin Courts Building this month are paying tribute to a group of people that nobody ever asked to be in but who deserve our full support: crime victims.

When the trial is over, the sentence has been handed down, the offender is imprisoned and the overworked criminal justice system churns on to the next case, the victims are left suffering for the rest of their lives.

Murder victims’ families are deprived of years of companionship and joy.

Rape and sexual assault victims are deprived of their sense of security.

Assault victims suffer from permanent injury and disability.

Fraud victims are deprived of the money they lost that rarely is repaid through restitution.

That’s to say nothing of the suffering of those victims who must live their lives knowing the criminal who ruined their lives is still out there — uncaught, unpunished and potentially ruining more lives.

Last week was Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and its Victim/Witness Services program once again did a great job of recognizing crime victims. A Thursday ceremony featured ribbons, a wreath for those lost to violent crime last year and more.

The suffering of a crime victim is unique, and Suffolk’s Victim/Witness Services does a great job of guiding those they serve through the process, even years after the case is closed.

Not every locality in Virginia has such a service, and Suffolk is fortunate to have this dedicated team.

We appreciate the existence of Crime Victims’ Rights Week, as it asks us all to stop, remember and do what we can to support them.