Crime Victims Rights Week kick-off set for Saturday

Published 9:00 am Thursday, April 18, 2024

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This upcoming Saturday, Suffolk will honor those who suffer the unwanted pain of being victims of crime. The Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will host its 3rd Annual Crime Victims Rights Week kick-off to recognize and remember those impacted by crime in the city on Saturday, April 20, at Lake Meade Park. Along with a walk-in recognition of Suffolk’s crime victims, resources and food trucks will be available. Victim/Witness Director Katie Gardner gave more details about the event.

“We will have resource tables set up with representatives from different agencies throughout the City of Suffolk and Hampton Roads for attendees to learn about the services available to them,” Gardner said. “Our local domestic violence shelter, The Genieve Shelter, will be present. Legal Aid will be there, Bikers Against Child Abuse, and more. Throughout the event, there will be food trucks with items available for purchase, and the fire department will be present with a truck and goodies for the kiddos.”

Along with honoring victims, Gardner says the kick-off helps remind her and the department themselves why they do the work they do. She also provided details on the event’s speakers.

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“As the event begins, we will hear from The Commonwealth’s Attorney, Narendra Pleas, the Interim Chief of Police, James Buie, Chief Deputy David Miles from the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department, myself, and finally, we’ll hear from a family who has been victimized, and they will share their experience navigating the criminal justice system while healing from a tragic loss,” she said. “Then, as a group, we [will] walk through Lake Meade Trail in honor, recognition, and remembrance of our city’s crime victims. It’s a very moving and emotional thing to witness and be a part of.”

Being a victim of a crime can come with a lot of pain and burden. Gardner shared ways the Victim/Witness program helps affected individuals with the healing process.

“From beginning to end and beyond, the Victim/Witness program is here to support victims of crime. That begins with meeting people where they’re at,” she said. “If they are in need of counseling or support groups, financial assistance or housing needs, we can help crime victims find the resource [that] best addresses those needs. We’re here to help victims understand their options and their rights. Victims will always be met with patience, compassion, and understanding.”

Gardner continued, noting that being a crime victim can be traumatizing and overwhelming.

“The healing process is not a straight line, and we understand that,” she said. “Our program is here for victims to feel supported throughout the criminal justice process and throughout their healing journey.”

Gardner also gave words of encouragement to those affected by crime in Suffolk.

“Being a victim of a crime can feel isolating, but you are not alone. There are many services available to help you and we are available to help you along the way,” Gardner said. “There is power in telling your story, in sharing your experience, and in holding the person who victimized you accountable. Please call our office if you have questions about the process and what coming forward will look [like]. We look forward to serving you.”