POMEROY — Each April one week is set aside as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
This year, April 19-25 was recognized as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with the theme “Seek Justice; Ensure Victims’ Rights; Inspire Hope”.
According to the national Office for Victims of Crime, “This year’s NCVRW theme — Seek Justice | Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope — commemorates the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled the victims’ rights movement forward for the past half century, inspiring in victims and their loved ones a feeling of hope for progress, justice, and healing.”
During 2019, the Meigs County Victims Assistance Program served 461 new victims of crime, while continuing to serve those who were victims in previous years.
Of the 461 victims, 82 were children, 143 were males, and 236 were females.
As has become tradition in Meigs County, shoes lined the Pomeroy Parking Lot wall to represent each of those 461 victims. Each shoe included a tag which stated the crime the person represented had been the victim of during 2019.
Also set up at the center gazebo on the parking lot was the homicide victim memorial banner, remembering those whose lives were cut short by crime.
Due to COVID-19, the Homicide Victim Memorial/Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony was canceled for this year.
“The program had to be cancelled this year, but I want to thank victim advocate Katie Gilkey for taking the lead this year with planning the program, organizing the display, and making hundreds of awareness ribbons. Victim Assistance Director Theda Petrasko and victim advocate Shelley Kemper also contributed significantly to this year’s display,” stated Prosecutor James K. Stanley.
In addition to National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
According to Prosecutor Stanley, “in Meigs County, 82 children faced abuse/neglect in 2019 and are honored through our shoe display, however, it’s important to also report that the Department of Jobs and Family Services received an estimated 462 reports of child abuse/neglect.”
In 2019, 35 children and two adults were victims of sexual assault in Meigs County.
“We hope that through community awareness events such as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we can help put a halt to these crimes and reduce the number of victims and create a safer future for Meigs County,” added Stanley.
There are many services, some listed below, that can be utilized if you are a victim of a crime.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department.
Meigs County Victims’ Assistance Program: 740-992-1720
The National Childhelp Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.