How municipalities can nurture crime victims services

Partnerships and outreach efforts that focus on training and sharing impactful stories of victims and their advocates are essential

Updated April 20, 2020

President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) in 1981 and helped create the Victims of Crime Act and Crime Victims Fund in 1984, which addresses victims’ rights following a crime and continues to help fund compensation and local crime victims services.

This year’s NCVRW theme — Seek Justice | Ensure Victims’ Rights | Inspire Hope — commemorates the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled the victims’ rights movement forward for the past half century, inspiring in victims and their loved ones a feeling of hope for progress, justice and healing.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Office for Victims of Crimes (OVC) provides materials so communities and agencies can quickly set up and implement public awareness campaigns for NCVRW and beyond. Crime victims services advocates are encouraged to host events and use and share campaign materials in meaningful ways.

Here are four ways municipalities and public services can nurture local crime victims services.

#1 Seek Partnerships

Through partnerships, organizations can more effectively mobilize experience, skills, resources and stakeholders. The key is to begin with deciding what an organization desires in a partner before identifying possible partners. Ask:

  • What skills does your organization have that you can share with others?
  • What is your area of expertise and who could benefit from learning more about it?
  • What expertise or skills is your organization missing?
  • Who in your organization can play a leadership role in building this partnership?
  • How will this effort contribute to or expand access and equitable services to victims of crime?

Learn more about extending your organization’s reach through partnerships by following OJP OVC’s recommended steps to building partnerships.

#2 Use the Theme Video

OJP OVC created a full length theme video and brief promotion clip about making crime victims services more inclusive, accessible and trauma-informed for use online and on local public access stations.

The federal office recommends local governments and agencies use the video in groups, online or as part of events:

  • To train and build awareness among volunteers and interns
  • To educate local students

Watch the brief theme video promotional clip:

#3 Share Stories & Recognize Crime Victims Services Professionals

By telling the stories of victims and crime victims advocates, local governments, agencies and partners can personalize the work of crime victim services and promote awareness that services are available — or that potential partnership opportunities are.

I think the struggle for victims’ rights can give meaning to the work of professionals in the field today,” said Steve Twist, founder of the Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, in the NCVRW 2019 theme video.

During NCVRW events, government officials are also presenting service awards to those that work in crime victim services, like Arizona Governor Doug Ducey did last year:

#4 Post and Re-Share NCVRW Stories on Social Media

Government agencies can bolster their crime victim services outreach by promoting NCVRW campaign materials on social media and sharing community stories, statistics and actions. These are just a few recent examples of social sharing for NCVRW 2019, followed by resources for your community:

Access and order crime victim services awareness posters.

Find all OVC resources and toolkits on

Learn more about the Crime Victims Fund state allocations on

Get information about donating to the Crime Victims Fund, authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.