In an effort to raise awareness of crime victims’ rights in Westchester, the Westchester County Department of Probation will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) through April 27. While crime is down in Westchester, the week-long initiative was developed to help amplify the voices of survivors, and create an environment where victims can feel confident they will be heard, believed and supported. On April 24, the Probation Department’s Victims Services Unit together with representatives from various community agencies, will conduct a series of presentations about the services they provide and the work being done with victims and survivors.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Since its inception in 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week has brought awareness to achieving justice for all victims of crime. Whether you’re a survivor, advocate or service provider, it is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the victims’ rights movement, and a time to honor anyone who has been affected in our communities. Together, let us honor the resilience of victims, and extend a hand to anyone who may be in need. And let us, as a community, grieve for those who have suffered at the hands of a violent crime.”

Commissioner of the Department of Probation Rocco Pozzi said: “This week, our Probation Department takes time to express our sincere gratitude for those criminal justice professionals, community advocates and victim service providers who are committed to supporting our victims in Westchester. We thank all of our professionals in law enforcement, as well as the selfless volunteers, who continuously elevate and engage survivors to lift their voices, inform policy and practice, and thereby effect change.”

This year’s theme is “How would you help? Options, services and hope for crime survivors.” The theme asks friends, family members, neighbors, colleagues, community leaders, victim service providers, criminal justice practitioners and health professionals, ‘How we can help crime victims? Are you prepared if someone confides in you about a victimization? Is your organization victim-centered and trauma-informed? Are you familiar with the services available in your community?’ 

The month of April is also known as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and April 24 is National Denim Day to bring awareness to sexual violence. Staff of the County’s Probation Department will stand in solidarity with sexual assault victims and survivors and wear jeans on April 24.

One easy way to participate in NCVRW is by donating essential toiletries and other items for victims and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking. Donations can be given to any member of the Probation Victim Services Unit, or the items may be placed in the donation box located on the 7th floor (Probation) in the Westchester County Courthouse now through Friday, April 26.