Marsy’s Law for South Dakota Commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 19-25)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 20, 2020
Nick Klitzing, K2 & Co.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, victims need support now more than ever
As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Marsy’s Law for South Dakota commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) and urges all South Dakotans to show their support for crime victims and those most vulnerable to violence. The annual week honoring victims kicked off yesterday and continues through Saturday, April 25.
Marsy’s Law for South Dakota launched a #SupportVictims social media campaign yesterday in honor of NCVRW, including visual aids, videos, and quotes that showcase the fight for victims and highlight the various rights to which victims in South Dakota are entitled since the passage of Marsy’s Law, the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights in Amendment S of the South Dakota Constitution. Marsy’s Law for South Dakota encourages advocates, community leaders, law enforcement, and all citizens to wear purple in honor of NCVRW and share their stories in support of equal crime victims’ rights.
NCVRW is a week-long event every April dedicated to raising awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and introducing the community to the important resources and services available. The event is sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime. This year’s national theme - Seek Justice | Ensure Victims' Rights | Inspire Hope - recognizes the individuals and groups whose advocacy has propelled the victims’ rights movement forward, inspiring in victims and their loved ones a feeling of hope for progress, justice, and healing.
This year, recognition of NCVRW is more important than ever as victims face additional stress and hurdles safeguarding their rights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, officials are releasing offenders early in some cases and courtrooms are closed, inevitably prolonging the legal process and adding to stress for victims. Worse still, victims could be isolated from resources and assistance they desperately need and would otherwise be able to access.
National media outlets such as the New York Times and CBS News have also raised concerns about the potential increase in domestic violence and child abuse as movement restrictions and self-isolation have made the threat of violence in homes “more frequent, more severe, and more dangerous.” Now, more than ever, we need to stay vigilant in protecting victims of violence during these trying times.
“Our mission is to bring awareness to crime victims’ issues and rights, and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week gives us the ability to further highlight our efforts and bring awareness to Marsy’s Law,” says Nick Klitzing, spokesman for Marsy’s Law for South Dakota. “In the midst of COVID-19, it’s more important now than ever that we join the cause to #SupportVictims as victims are increasingly isolated from assistance and reports of domestic violence and child abuse are on the rise.”
Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is committed to raising awareness about crime victims’ issues and rights and providing important resources to victims. The National Crime Victim Law Institute has compiled a list of helpful resources for victims and their families who need assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. The U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime has also compiled a helpful resource guide for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
About Marsy’s Law for South Dakota:
Marsy's Law for South Dakota led the campaign in 2016 to pass Amendment S adding a Crime Victims' Bill of Rights to the South Dakota Constitution. The amendment passed overwhelmingly with a margin of 60% - 40%, giving crime victims in South Dakota meaningful and enforceable constitutional rights equal to the rights of the accused.
Marsy’s Law for South Dakota is a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Ann Nicholas, a beautiful, vibrant college student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after Marsy was murdered, her mother Marcella and her brother Henry walked into a grocery store after visiting Marsy’s grave and were confronted by the accused murderer. They had no idea that he had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Henry Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.