Oregon advocates honored for their work on behalf of victims
Attorney General John Kroger today gathered with victims, advocates, members of the law enforcement community and elected officials for the annual commemoration of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
"Today we mark how far Oregon has come in the fight for meaningful rights for victims of crime in the criminal justice system," said Attorney General Kroger. "While we celebrate the work done for crime victims we must continue to make improvements."
Every year, the Oregon Department of Justice Crime Victims' Services Division recognizes National Crime Victims' Rights Week by honoring those who have fought to protect crime victims and give them a voice in the criminal justice system. The theme for 2011 is Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past which recalls a time in recent history when, among other injustices, victims and their families were excluded from courtroom proceedings and victims of assault were forced to pay for the medical bills and other expenses incurred as a result of the crime.
Two survivors participated in the event by sharing their personal stories about what it means for victims to assert their rights during criminal justice proceedings.
Cynthia Stinson, DOJ's Crime Victims' Services Director said, "These brave individuals remind us of the importance of the work we do every day on behalf of victims of crime. It is their courage that inspires all of us to shape a future that affords victims meaningful involvement, due dignity and respect during the criminal justice process."
Four Oregonians were recognized at the event for their contributions to victims' services and victims' rights:
Chiquita Rollins - Multnomah County Domestic Violence Coordinator (retired March 2011)
Karen Scheler - Director of ABC House, Linn County
Doug Hanson - Marion County Deputy District Attorney
Lt. Matt Wagenknecht - Lieutenant, Portland Police Bureau
The Department of Justice has long worked to uphold and advance crime victims' rights. During the 2009 legislative session, DOJ proposed and the Oregon Legislature passed landmark legislation to allow crime victims to uphold their constitutional rights in a court of law. The Attorney General's Task Force on Victims' Rights Enforcement continues to develop legislative recommendations to further improve the protections and rights granted to victims of crime in Oregon.
The Department of Justice is currently working with legislators in the 2011 legislative session to reform the process of collecting court-ordered restitution in Oregon. If enacted, House Bill 3066 / Senate Bill 39 will help more crime victims receive the financial support they have been promised, and often desperately need. It will also hold more offenders accountable by making sure they fulfill their legal obligation to pay resititution to the people they have harmed.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud and protect crime victims, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org