GRANBY, NY – During the week of April 10 – 16, communities and victim service providers across the United States hosted events and campaigns in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The goal of this awareness week is to promote victims’ rights and honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf.
Americans are the victims of more than 20 million crimes each year. Crime can touch the lives of anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, immigration or economic status. Many victims face challenges in finding appropriate services, including victims with disabilities, young victims of color, LGBTQ victims, elder victims and teens.
Every year, Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families Program, Oswego County’s domestic violence and rape crisis program, along with the generous support of community partners, plant a tree to honor victims of crime during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
The tree is used as a symbol to represent renewal and hope to those whose lives have been affected by crime in our community.
The goal is to plant a tree in all the towns, villages, and cities within Oswego County.
Thus far, SAF has planted 14 trees throughout Oswego County, most recently in the villages of Central Square and Phoenix.
This year, the town of Granby was honored to support the continuation of this annual event, by allowing SAF to plant a tree in their community honoring victims of crime. The 15th annual tree planting ceremony was held on Tuesday (April 12) outside the Granby Community Center.
The program included remarks by Granby Town Supervisor Edward Williamson, town board member Brenda Frazier-Hartle, Oswego County Legislator Morris Sorbello, Michelle Stepien of Senator Patty Ritchie’s office, and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes.
Honoring the rights of victims, including the right to be heard and to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect, and working to meet their needs rebuilds their trust in the criminal justice and social service systems.
The theme for 2016 – Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope – is an opportune time to commit to ensuring that all victims of crime are offered appropriate and accessible services in the aftermath of crime.
The bipartisan Victims of Crime Act, passed by Congress in 1984, created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims’ Fund supports services for victims of all types of crime, including assistance for homicide survivors, survivors of child sexual abuse and victims of human trafficking, as well as rape crisis centers and domestic violence programs.
Funding provided through the New York State Office of Victim Services allows the SAF Program to provide crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, emergency shelter, advocacy, and 24/7 hotline assistance.
In addition, SAF will assist any victim of crime in filling out an application for crime victim compensation and providing follow up assistance directly to the New York State Office of Victim Services. SAF Staff work directly with the New York State Office of Victim Services to establish the initial claim and help recover out of pocket expenses to include, but not limited to; funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages, loss of essential personal property, and crime scene clean up.
In 2015, SAF filed 102 applications for crime victims’ compensation.
To learn more about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, visit: http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime and is in need of support or information, please call our Crisis Hotline (315) 342-1600.
The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours.
SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more than 30 years.
For more information, visit www.oco.org