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Monica Jensen
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Dakota County Honors Crime Victims and Advocates During Crime Victims' Rights Week April 21-27, 2013
The Dakota County Board of Commissioners proclaimed the week of April 21-27 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week.  Dakota County will join others around the country to celebrate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to honor crime victims and our nation’s progress in advancing their rights.  This year’s theme New Challenges.  New Solutions.  reflects the increasingly complex mission of victim advocates and programs.  Remarkable improvements have been made throughout the country since the 1980s to provide services to victims of all types of crimes - all 50 states have victims’ rights laws and there are over 10,000 victim service agencies throughout the country.  However, emerging challenges such as globalization, human trafficking, mass shootings, and the use of technology to commit crime have forced us to re-examine our practices in order to ensure that we are providing the most effective and comprehensive services possible.
 
In Dakota County, the County Attorney’s Office declared its commitment to crime victims in 1977, when it established a Victim/Witness Assistance Program.  Since that time, tens of thousands of victims have received non-judgmental support, case specific information, and guidance through the criminal justice system in Dakota County.  These services assist victims in recovering from the harm caused by crime and are offered at no cost.  Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an excellent opportunity to honor our history, celebrate our accomplishments, and recommit ourselves to our mission.
 
Bookmarks and resources on crime victims’ rights will be available during the week of April 21-27 at libraries throughout Dakota County.  Displays will be set up by local law enforcement, Dakota County Community Corrections and Dakota County Attorney Victim Services staff.
 
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom commented: “Nothing is more important in the criminal justice process than serving the needs of the victims of crime.  We work hard each day in the Dakota County Attorney’s Office to help victims cope with the personal trauma and financial losses inflicted upon them and insure that those who commit crimes in our community are held accountable.  It is the commitment of all law enforcement to see that crime victim’s rights are protected, making Dakota County a safer place to live and work.”
 
If you or someone you know has been a victim of crime, help is available.  For more information regarding crime victims’ rights or other services, contact Kelly Nicholson, Victim Witness Supervisor, Dakota County Attorney’s Office at 651-438-4471, toll free at 1-877-396-6382, or the Dakota County Attorney’s website.