Week will aid crime victims

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, March 29, 2018

Numerous organizations in Cumberland County will advocate for victims of crimes by offering resources, awareness and other tools during an upcoming event where the county will commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Tiffany Booker

The week will take place April 8-14 and will culminate in a noon event Saturday, April 14 at Center Union Baptist Church, located on the Cumberland-Powhatan line at 1499 Anderson Highway.

The event will include guest speakers, a health fair and booths where crime victims can learn about resources.

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The National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was first organized by the Office of Victims of Crimes, a component of the Office of Justice Programs, the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tiffany Booker, the victim-witness assistance program director for Cumberland County, said the theme for the week will emphasize the need for inclusion in crime victim services, urging community organizations to build relationships across gender, racial and economic lines.

“To reach all victims, we have to expand our circle by building relationships, removing barriers and engaging our community,” Booker said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Madeline’s House, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, the Backyard Outlaws Auto/Bike and Social Club and other organizations will help provide resources to those affected by crimes.

She said the sheriff’s office will offer fingerprinting, resources on gun safety and resources about domestic violence.

Booker said a representative from each of these organizations will speak during the April 14 event.

“Some crime victims are afraid to press charges because they do not know what’s next,” Booker said. “Each organization will speak on basically the resources that they can provide to victims.”

Booker said the event will also function as a health fair, where participants can receive resources on building their health and developing healthy relationships.

She said the organizations will have booths with information inside of the church’s fellowship hall.

Elder Rozena Jackson, who is organizing the event at Center Union Baptist Church, said the event would be the first of its kind to take place at the church.

Darrell Hodges

She said the event will provide needed resources for crime victims, and to let them know that they are not alone.

“We will have a lot of information that they will be able to pull from, some resources and even some help,” Jackson said. “How to deal with it and how to move on.”

“A lot of times when you’re out in the country, people don’t think there’s a lot of crime that goes on, especially with domestic violence, but there is. So people need to know what resources are out there for them so that they can get the help that they need,” Jackson said.

Cumberland County Sheriff Darrell Hodges said he had high hopes for the event and expressed pride in Booker and the works of the county organizations.

“Tiffany Booker, our victim-witness coordinator, has put a lot of work into it, and I’m really looking forward to the whole thing, to see how we can work well with our community. I like the partnership with the churches and the different civic groups and the Commonwealth’s Attorney office. We all work well together, and I think this shows the public how well we work together.”