Every day in Snohomish County we read and hear about crime that is happening in our communities. For most people it is easy to dismiss crime that has taken place because “I don’t live in that neighborhood” or “I don’t engage in that behavior.” Crime can happen anywhere to anyone. Think about some of the tragedies you have heard about; the young mother driving home from work who is killed by a person speeding from the law or the person at a family picnic who is hit by random gunfire. These are tragedies because not one of these victims or families were associating with the “wrong people” in the “wrong neighborhood” or engaging in the “wrong behavior.” It is easier to believe it cannot happen to me, my children or my family because then we are “safe” from crime. When crime does happen to an innocent person they are suddenly thrown into a criminal justice system that is unfamiliar and difficult to navigate.
In 1984, Congress passed the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which created a national fund to ease victims’ suffering. Financed not by taxpayers but by fines and penalties paid by offenders, the Crime Victims Fund supports victim services and compensation programs to help deal with the emotional, physical and financial aftermath of crime.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will be held April 6–12. For additional information and to learn how to help victims in your community, please contact Victim Support Services at 800.346.7555 or visit www.victimsupportservices.org.
Victim Support Services (formerly FNFVCV)
Director of Victim Services