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THE Attorney General's Office hosted a Crime Victims' Rights Ceremony at the Harvest Christian Academy Family Life Center yesterday morning to honor the nameless and faceless victims of all crimes.
Dignitaries and officials from the local and federal government, nonprofit organizations and the business community joined Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas and keynote speaker Sen. Mana Silva Taijeron in revisiting the historic struggle of justice for crime victims.
According to the AG's Office, this year's theme, “Extending the Vision, Reaching Every Victim,” is a recommitment to the idea that every victim, regardless of demographics, financial status and location, should and will have the rights and services they need in the aftermath of a crime.
In his remarks, Rapadas told the present surviving victims, “From victims of cyber-bullying to child abuse; from human trafficking to drunk driving; from sexual assault to homicide – you all share something: your heartache, your pain caused by another.”
He recalled a past experience that explained why victims have an important role in the justice system.
“Several years ago, I met with a human trafficking victim after the sentencing of her trafficker,” Rapadas said. “She thanked me and my staff. But I had to stop and thank her because without her being brave to stand and face her oppressor, we would not have been able get the conviction. We would not have been able to put her trafficker in prison for a long time. She helped us to free her.”
Rapadas also stated that ceremonies such as yesterday's are being held across the nation to remind the victims that the justice system is there for them.
“We are here to help you; to help you find the strength that already exists in you.”