April 8-14 is Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Benton County

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

At today’s Board of Commissioners meeting, the County Commissioners proclaimed the week of April 8-14, 2018 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and reaffirmed Benton County’s dedication to strengthening victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime, building resilience in our communities and our victim responders, and working for justice for all crime victims and survivors.

In commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Benton County District Attorney’s Office is hosting a brief ceremony on the Benton County Courthouse lawn at 3:00pm on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The public and those with an interest in honoring National Crime Victims’ Rights Week are encouraged to attend.

In 2017, the Benton County District Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Program assisted 1,656 crime victims. In connection with Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Victim Assistance Program staff will put flags in the Benton County Courthouse lawn on April 6th to honor the victims that were assisted in 2017.

The Victim Assistance Program extends the capacity of five County staff that manage the case load through a competitive practicum opportunity for undergraduate students.

Two student interns per semester gain firsthand knowledge about the criminal justice system working under the Victim Assistance  Program Manager. The Interns assist Crime Victim Advocates by providing administrative support by opening cases, sending Victim Advice of Rights, and sending closing documents out to victims when a case has been adjudicated.

In the past 3 years, two students that participated in the intern program and were hired into the office as Crime Advocate staff.

Former intern and current Benton County Crime Victim Advocate Stephanie Hughes was invited by the Western Oregon University (WOU) Criminal Justice Department to be a panel speaker at their Criminal Justice Careers Day Fair and Panel held on March 7, 2018. The Criminal Justice Careers Day Fair and Panel was an opportunity for new and current WOU students exploring career and internship opportunities within the Criminal Justice field to learn more from industry professionals.

Over 400 people walked through the fair, including incoming and current students looking for future opportunities to gain an internship for the required credits to graduate. In addition to Hughes’ participation in the panel, the Benton County District Attorney’s Office Victim Assistance Program staffed an informational table. The Victim Assistance Program informational table offered a description of our practicum opportunities, applications for the practicum for interested students, and general informational pamphlets describing the different types of crime victims assisted.

Applications to the program are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more at https://www.co.benton.or.us/da.