Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 11, 2008
 
Media Contact: Robyn Ziegler
312-814-3118
rziegler@atg.state.il.us
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN HOSTS FIFTH AND FINAL
STATEWIDE FORUM FOR CRIME VICTIMS

Rock Island Crime Victims' Rights Event Features Expert Panel

Rock Island – Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office today hosted a crime victims' roundtable in the City Council Chambers at the Rock Island City Hall , concluding a three-month series of events held around the state to improve advocacy efforts on behalf of crime victims. The roundtables kicked off in April during the observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week. This year's theme is “Justice for Victims. Justice for All.”

The panel of experts at today's roundtable included crime victims, crime victim advocates and representatives of State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-Moline), Rock Island County and Whiteside County State's Attorneys' Offices, the Children's Advocacy Center of Rock Island, the YWCA of Sauk Valley, the Peoria Police Department and Attorney General Madigan's Crime Victims Services Division.

“This Rock Island roundtable gives us an opportunity to listen and learn how someone's experience as a victim of crime can forever change his or her life. As we listen to the testimony of victims and experienced victim advocates, we gain new insight into how the criminal justice system can help victims to recover and how, in some instances, the system may be creating obstacles to recovery,” Madigan said. “We plan to use the information from these roundtables to improve our advocacy efforts on behalf of victims.”

Over the past three months, crime victims and victims' advocates have come forward to tell personal stories of their experiences and the challenges they have faced in the criminal justice system. Fifty-four individuals testified at and more than 275 individuals attended the first four roundtables held on April 14 in Chicago ; April 15 in Springfield ; May 14 in Carterville; and June 4 in Collinsville.

“This past session, I worked on many initiatives to increase the opportunities for victims of crimes to have greater access to the information necessary to live without fear after a conviction is obtained,” said Sen. Jacobs. “We must continue to reevaluate how victims are treated as a case progresses through the system so that they are not victimized again.  The Rock Island roundtable presented an excellent opportunity for the citizens of my district to be heard on this important issue.”  

Attorney General Madigan's Crime Victims' Rights Roundtable Project is one of 56 projects around the country, and the only Illinois project, that were selected out of 145 applications for funding through a grant from the federal Office of Victims of Crime (OVC).

The crime victims' roundtable events are part of Attorney General Madigan's ongoing work on behalf of crime victims in Illinois.

Through the Crime Victims Services Division, Attorney General Madigan's office provides financial assistance, supported through fees and fines imposed on convicted criminals, to innocent victims of violent crimes and their families to cover out-of-pocket expenses including hospital, medical, funeral and other expenses related to the crime. Domestic violence victims also can receive financial assistance for relocation and moving expenses under a law Madigan drafted in 2005.

In 2007, in an effort to better protect victims of stalking, the Attorney General's office presented two special training sessions for more than 150 participants, including law enforcement officers, prosecutors and investigators, court personnel and domestic violence legal advocates.  The trainings offered an overview of the stalking laws, practical tips for investigations and strategies for successfully prosecuting these crimes.

In April, Attorney General Madigan's office hosted 37 crime victim advocates, criminal justice professionals and social service providers at the third Illinois Victim Assistance Academy (IVAA) on the campus of Illinois State University . The IVAA is an intensive, 40-hour training program designed to improve the quality and consistency of victim services across Illinois.

Interested individuals can learn more about the services provided by Attorney General Madigan 's Crime Victim Service Division by visiting www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov, or by calling 1-800-228-3368.

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