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This Week Is National Crime Victims' Rights Week
MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen hosted a ceremony this afternoon in the Capitol Rotunda today to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week. The ceremony honored the courage of crime victims and commemorated the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board, an independent board created by the legislature to enforce the Wisconsin's victims' rights statutes. The board is staffed by the Department of Justice Office of Crime Victim Services.
Van Hollen's remarks highlighted Wisconsin's leadership in recognizing crime victims' rights, noting that the state was home to the first victim/witness program and passed the first Crime Victims' Bill of Rights. He also discussed the role of the Department of Justice Office of Crime Victim Services plays in supporting victims' rights and services. Van Hollen also discussed the importance of a victim's voice as a witness at trial and stated victim safety was a matter of great concern. Van Hollen stated that the Department of Justice was working with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm and the Office of Justice Assistance to develop a pilot project this summer to address witness protection needs.
Van Hollen closed the ceremony by recognizing the service of the members of the state Crime Victims' Rights Board, including: Calumet County District Attorney Kenneth Kratz (appointed to the Board by the Wisconsin District Attorney's Association); Citizen Members Christine Nolan, (appointed to the Board by the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Council) and Angela Sutkiewicz (appointed to the Board by the governor); Wood County Victim Witness Coordinator, Trisha Anderson (appointed by the attorney general); and Chief of Police Charles McGee, Watertown Police Department (appointed by the attorney general).
The quasi-judicial Crime Victims' Rights Board reviews complaints filed against public employees and officials by victims of crime who believe their victims' rights have been violated. It can issue reports and recommendations about the provision of victims' rights and order remedies for rights violations, including: private or public reprimands; referral to the judicial commission; provision of equitable relief; and assessment of a forfeiture, for intentional violations. It was one of the first Boards of its kind in the nation and many states have used the Wisconsin Crime Victims' Rights Board as a model for their own enforcement systems.
Crime victims can 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 and the Crime Victims' Rights Board can be found at the DOJ Website, here.