Attorney General Hardy Myers today joined Dave Cook, Director, Oregon Department of Corrections, Josh Marquis, President of the Oregon District Attorneys Association, crime victims, crime victims' advocates and others to commemorate National Crime Victims' Rights Week at the State Capitol.
"During this special week, crime victims and those who serve them will join together in communities across America to honor the many significant accomplishments that reduce crime, assist victims and make our communities safer," Myers said. "I am particularly pleased to be able to honor Chiquita Rollins who will receive the award for Outstanding Contribution to Victims of Crime."
Rollins has spent more than ten years serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Oregon. As Executive Director of Bradley-Angle House in Portland, she provided direct services to victims. She also serves as an advocate and guide in several policy-making forums such as the Governor's Council on Domestic Violence, the Executive Committee of the Multnomah County Public Safety Coordinating Council and the Multnomah County Family Violence Coordinating Council.
"Ms. Rollins has been a voice for victims, a strong voice for those who are sometimes not able to speak for themselves," Myers said. "Her leadership has fostered good public policy and has encouraged agencies and individuals to build effective partnerships. Oregon owes her a debt of thanks."
The theme of the 2001 National Crime Victims' Rights Week - "Reach for the Stars" - recognizes new heights that have been made in the field of crime victim assistance, including the provision of quality comprehensive victim assistance services and the implementation of four key elements of victims' services: notification, participation, protection and restitution.
A new program called Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) was unveiled and demonstrated at today's ceremony. Co-sponsored by the Oregon Department of Corrections and the Oregon Department of Justice, VINE allows victims to access offender status information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provides automated telephone notification of key activities related to their cases. The service is free to users and is funded with crime victims assistance funds from the Oregon Department of Justice.
"National Crime Victims' Rights Week is the perfect time to unveil VINE," Myers said. "I am grateful to Dave Cook and the Oregon Department of Corrections in partnering with the Department of Justice to provide this important service to victims. The information VINE will supply allows them to make decisions regarding their personal safety."
"This system will have no small impact; for just about every one of the 30,000 offenders in the system, there's at least one victim," said Corrections Director Dave Cook. "The knowledge and peace of mind it provides is a tremendous benefit for victims of people who are in prison, jail and under community supervision."
Linda Kovach, a victim of domestic violence, also shared her experience and emphasized the importance of victims having access to information on the whereabouts of their offender.
"For many victims, information about what's going on in their cases is vital to their feelings of security as well as their ability to plan for the future," Myers said. "VINE gives them an opportunity to stay informed and involved."
Contact: Kristen Grainger or Kevin Neely, (503) 378-6002.