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Caddo Sheriff, local agencies plan activities for Crime Victims' Rights Week

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Photo by Caddo Sheriff's Office Photo by Caddo Sheriff's Office
Photo by Caddo Sheriff's Office Photo by Caddo Sheriff's Office
Photo by Caddo Sheriff's Office Photo by Caddo Sheriff's Office
SHREVEPORT, La -

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator hosted a proclamation ceremony and awareness luncheon in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights Week which began Monday.

The luncheon recognized victim advocates, including public safety, judicial, and medical professionals, who meet the challenges of crime and victims on a daily basis.

Monday's luncheon included the Caddo Sheriff's Office, Caddo District Attorney's Office, Caddo Coroner's Office, Shreveport City Mayor's Office, Shreveport City Marshal's Office, Shreveport Police Department, Shreveport Fire Department, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Justice, U.S. Marshal's Office, U.S. Attorney's Office, Greenwood Police Department, Blanchard Police Department, Vivian Police Department, and Oil City Police Department.

Special guest Dominic Salinas spoke on behalf of a family member who was permanently disabled and is still receiving medical care after he was beaten by three assailants during a home invasion robbery. Salinas has worked closely with the Caddo Sheriff's Crime Victims' Reparations Office to receive services for his family member.

Following the luncheon, a blood drive is being held at the Caddo Parish Courthouse on McNeil Street from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Individuals can donate blood in honor of a crime victim or loved one.

"I encourage everyone's participation so we can send a message to crime victims that they are not alone," Prator said.

Nationally, April 6 through 12 has been set aside as Crime Victims' Rights Week. This year marks 30 years honoring the progress made on behalf of victims since passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in 1984.

Crime Victims' Rights Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the energy and commitment that launched the victims' rights movement and continue to advance the cause of justice for crime victims, Prator said.

Thirty years ago, crime victims had virtually no rights and no assistance. They had no access to victim compensation or services to help rebuild their lives. Today, every state has enacted victims' rights laws and all have victim compensation programs funded by offenders.

In 2013, the Caddo Sheriff's Office distributed $234,706 to more than 119 crime victims or their families. Funds are used for medical expenses, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, dental reimbursement, lost wages, catastrophic loss, and reimbursement for out of pocket expenses directly related to the crime.

"There are many more victims who aren't even aware services or support are available, and that's what this week is all about," Prator said.

For more information on victim services in Caddo Parish, contact Deputy Vickie Johnson at 681-0870.

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