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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen held a public ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda today to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week. The ceremony was held from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Members of the public in attendance had a unique opportunity to join crime victims, families and criminal justice professionals in honoring and showing support for Wisconsin victims of crime. These crime survivors and their families have shown us their courage in some of the most difficult circumstances people can face.
"The first duty of government is to ensure public safety and provide sufficient resources for law enforcement," Van Hollen said. "I am proud to be the state's Attorney General, leading a Department of Justice that is committed to these ideals. The work we do at DOJ to enforce the law and enhance public safety is reflected at every level of the Department, in every Division of the Department, by a desire to provide justice to victimsвЂand to prevent further victimization."
In addition to remarks presented by the Attorney General, the ceremony featured a special art project -- a "clothesline display" created by youth victims of crime served by Milwaukee's Project Ujima. Project Ujima is one of the victim service organizations that receives funding through the Department of Justice's administration of federal grant programs to fund victim services in Wisconsin.
Project Ujima is a multi-disciplinary collaboration addressing youth violence through individual, family and community intervention and prevention strategies. It has provided services to Wisconsin crime victims, in affiliation with Children's Hospital in Milwaukee, since 2004. These services include: crisis intervention, case management, social and emotional support, youth development, mental health services, court services and victim advocacy.
Specifically, Project UJIMA addresses the needs of youth victims of violence who come to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Emergency Room by (1) providing treatment which promotes physical and psychosocial recovery and (2) linking victims at the time of discharge to community-based organizations in order to provide long-term psychosocial intervention.
Key Partners of Project Ujima include the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's (CHW) Emergency Department and Trauma Center, staffed by physicians from the Medical College of Wisconsin's Department of Pediatrics; the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Children's Service Society of Wisconsin.
Twenty youths served by the program designed t-shirts to convey what it is like to be a survivor of crime. The t-shirts will hang from a clothesline in the Capitol Rotunda during the Attorney General's ceremony.
This year, Crime Victims Rights' Week is commemorated nationally April 22nd through 28th. The 2007 national theme is "Every Victim Every Time."
"Law enforcement, prosecutors and victim advocates work with victims to help ensure that they receive the rights to which they are entitled," Van Hollen said today. "National Crime Victims' Rights Week provides an opportunity to recognize those professionals who reach out to victims of crime to make these rights understandable and accessible. This week we acknowledge the work being done to help victims of crime and we recommit ourselves to the goal that victims rights laws will be upheld in every case, for every victim."
The Wisconsin Department of Justice provides mediation and referral services to victims of crime who need services or help exercising their rights. Crime victims can also call the Department's Victim Resource Center to complain about possible rights' violations (1-800-446-6564.) Additional information, including details about the rights of victims can be found at the DOJ Website, here.
National event link: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/ncvrw/2007/welcome.html