Joan Berry pins purple ribbon to lapel of District Attorney General Barry Staubus

Joan Berry pins a purple ribbon to the lapel of District Attorney General Barry Staubus during an event on Wednesday recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

BLOUNTVILLE — If you notice someone wearing a purple ribbon this week, it could be in recognition of April 18-24 being the 40th annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

In a small ceremony on Wednesday, District Attorney General Barry Staubus and others who serve victims of crime in Sullivan County were presented with purple ribbon pins in honor of the national effort to raise public awareness.

Members of HOPE lead the ceremony.

HOPE (Help Others — Persevere — Encourage), a nonprofit founded by Mike and Joan Berry after the murder of their daughter Johnia, works with victims of violent crime.

Staubus praised the group’s members for being the face of victims and for providing a voice for the victims of crime.

“We want you to know we honor you today just like we honor our victims,” Joan Berry told Staubus and the others, including members of local law enforcement, justice system workers and members of other agencies and organizations dedicated to serving victims. “And we appreciate everything that you all do through the year, all your efforts and hard work for the justice system. We appreciate it from the bottoms of our hearts.”

This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.”

The theme is meant to emphasize the importance of leveraging community support to help victims of crime.

Criminal justice and victim service professionals, businesses, healthcare providers, educators, policymakers, houses of worship and a host of other social and civic groups can work together to ensure that survivors of crime receive the holistic services and support they need.

This not only helps the individual heal, but it also improves community safety and well-being.

Milestones

From a website promoting National Crime Victims’ Rights Week:

1965: California establishes the first crime victim compensation program. By 1970, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland and the U.S. Virgin Islands also establish programs.

1975: The first Victims’ Rights Week is organized by the Philadelphia district attorney; citizen activists from across the country unite to expand victim services and increase recognition of victims’ rights by forming the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA).

1981: President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first national Crime Victims’ Week in April.

1983: The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is established by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to implement recommendations from the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime.