Art Contest Puts Focus On Victim Rights
Fremont Library to host awards event Monday
Victim Rights can be involve anything from advocacy to restitution to inclusion in judicial proceedings. The Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office is where Samantha Sheppard serves in the role of Victim Rights Provider and for the third year their office has organized the Newaygo County Victim Rights Week Art Competition.
We caught up with Ms. Sheppard for a few questions.
NNN:-Why the contest?
SS- Every year, the Office for Victims of Crime dedicates an entire week solely to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights and the services that are available to victims of crime. To raise awareness, communities across the United States are asked to participate in an event or an activity that expresses the current year’s theme. This year’s theme is Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims. The NCVRW Art Competition has been a very rewarding experience, seeing how the high school students in Newaygo County interpret the different themes from year to year on crime victims’ rights, and also interacting with them and raising awareness on this important subject.
NNN-When is the winner announced?
SS-The NCVRW Art Competition Award Ceremony will be held on April 16th, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Fremont Area District Library. The Top 5 winners will be invited along with their family and friends, and the event is open to the public. The more, the merrier!
NNN-Describe the selection process?
SS-The police officers from each department in Newaygo County (Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, Fremont Police Department, White Cloud Police Department, Newaygo Police Department, Grant Police Department, Central Michigan Enforcement Team, and Hesperia Police Department) voted on each piece, and determined the Top 5. From there, our office voted and determined the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
NNN-Tell us a bit about the Victim Rights Office.
SS-Until the mid-1980’s when the Office for Victims of Crime was established under the Department of Justice umbrella victim rights initiatives were scattered among jurisdictions across the country with little consistency.
Victims did not have to be notified of court proceedings or of the arrest or release of the defendant, they had no right to attend the trial or other proceedings, and they had no right to make a statement to the court at sentencing or at other hearings. Moreover, victim assistance programs were virtually non-existent.
Since then, there have been tremendous strides in the creation of legal rights and assistance programs for victims of crime.
Victim Rights initiatives focus on helping victims in the immediate aftermath of crime and continuing to support them as they rebuild their lives.
NNN- How do you see this project helping with Victim Rights?
SS-I am hoping this project continues to bring awareness on crime victims’ rights to the high school students and their families in Newaygo County.
NNN-What do you like about the competition?
SS- I love to see the different pieces of art, and the individual interpretations of the current year’s theme and what it means to the student. It is very heartwarming to have these students from our county put so much effort into their entries for such an important cause.
For more information about Victim Rights you can click on the following link.
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