Supporting victims of crime is crucial to the U.S. justice system because this support honors the experiences of victims and allow them to find autonomy and empowerment through achieving self-defined goals. In 2019, the Jefferson County Sheriff Office Victim Advocates supported almost 2500 primary crime victims; over 600 secondary or tertiary individuals affected by trauma; and, advocates immediately responded to over 1300 unique cases involving a victim or witness or crime or unexpected death.
As the first step in the justice process, law enforcement, plays a very significant role in helping crime victims. The Sheriff’s Office, working with the District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies and victim advocates, they will continue to provide appropriate resources and support to victims navigating their “new normal” life. “Even though we are not able to come together to cheer victims’ resiliency, they are always in our thoughts and remain the driving force behind our efforts to stop crime, investigate cases and put criminals behind bars,” says Sheriff Jeff Shrader.
It is important that our community knows there are resources to support victims in their recovery. As Commissioner Szabo likes to say, “we are Jeffco strong.” She goes on to say, “enhancements, to our already amazing services and collaboration, will come to fruition when the new Porchlight Family Justice Center opens later this year. One central location will better provide the comprehensive services, and support, for victims facing the challenges ahead in their recovery.”
Sadly, due to the worldwide public health emergency, in-person County celebrations for the victims and survivors, were cancelled – including the 27th annual Courage Walk on Saturday, April 25. The Walk has always been an opportunity for victims and survivors, members of criminal justice agencies, law enforcement, victim service providers, and community volunteers to come together to celebrate the strength and courage of victims, and to speak out in unison for crime victims’ rights, today and in the future. “While we were unable to physically come together in celebration this year, we must not let this pandemic prevent us from honoring the strength and courage of victims and survivors,” said District Attorney Pete Weir.
“Although we have proclaimed this one week, we want to express to entire community this is a 24-hour, 7-days a week, 365 days a year support and express there are people in our community who do truly care and to let victims know the road to recovery does not have to be a road taken alone” says Board Chair, Lesley Dahlkemper.
Commissioner Tighe added “we believe Jefferson County is a place where victims can feel safe, knowing we continue to fight for their rights.”
The full Proclamation can be found here.