Criminal Justice department teams up with Wayne County for rally

By MICHAEL FOSSBAKK, Staff Writer

wayne_county_sealSunday April 6 will mark a near week-long event known as the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, culminating in the Voices of Justice Community Rally on April 12 at the Eastern Market in Detroit.

Criminal Justice (CJ) students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn were invited to the event and several CJ professors will be attending also.

The theme for this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “30 Years: Restoring the Balance of Justice.” Aptly named, this year will mark the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the U.S. Victims of Crime Act. In attendance will be Wayne County Prosecutor and U.S. Attorney Eastern District.

The community rally itself will be conducted by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Sasha Center and the Children Center. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the rights and services offered to victims of crime through storytelling and poetry. The rally will run from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

“The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984 was an attempt by federal government to help victims of criminal actions through means other than punishment of the criminal,” said Karen Hall of the Victims Service Unit at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. “VOCA created a Federal victim-compensation account funded by fines assessed in Federal criminal convictions.  It established provisions to assist state programs that compensated victims of crime.”

In 1988, an amendment was made to VOCA, holding the Office for Victims of Crime responsible for administering the Crime Victims Fund. Through the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA), the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office was able to attain funds for the 2014 National Crime Victims’ Week.