Office of the Attorney General
Victims’ Rights Day Rally held at Capitol Rotunda
Attorney General Greg Stumbo today hosted the sixteenth annual Kentucky Crime Victims’ Rights Day Rally in the Rotunda of the State Capitol. The Rally was part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 22-28, 2007.
Featured speakers included the Attorney General and Holly Dunn Pendleton – the only known survivor of the Railroad Serial Killer, Angel Maturino Resendez, who took the lives of unsuspecting victims as he crossed the country by rail. In 1997, Holly and her college boyfriend were attacked while walking along the tracks near UK in Lexington. Her companion was bludgeoned to death. Holly was raped, beaten, stabbed and left for dead but miraculously survived. Holly shared her story of recovery, survival and hope.
Victim advocates, victims, families of victims, law enforcement, prosecutors and volunteers attended today’s rally. It was also open to the public.
The theme of this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is, “Every Victim. Every Time.”
“The theme summons our nation to advance the rights of crime victims and expand the services victims need to rebuild their lives,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “It also captures the heart of the mission for those who work with victims, like my Office of Victims Advocacy. The theme also reminds us that every victim deserves respect and compassion, assistance to recover from the impact of crime and full access to the criminal justice system. It envisions a society that powerfully and systematically supports all victims of crime – regardless of their circumstances.”
The first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was in 1981. Since then, the field of victims’ rights and services has contributed to many accomplishments that enhance individual and community safety. Today, there are more than 10,000 justice system and community based programs that inform and educate victims about their rights, and provide supportive services to help them cope with the physical, emotional, financial and spiritual impact of crime. More than 32,000 laws have been passed at the state and federal levels that define and protect victims’ rights, including the Kentucky Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights (KRS 421.500-421.575).
“The importance of providing support and assistance to crime victims is a critical and core component of justice in America,” said Stumbo. “Victims’ Rights Day is a time to pause in remembrance of victims and pay tribute to the strides we have made assisting victims. It is also a time to set even higher goals.”
Attorney General Stumbo’s support of victims’ rights dates back to his days as House Majority Leader. He worked towards the passage of key legislation in support of victims’ rights. This work included increasing penalties for habitual domestic violence offenders. Stumbo was also the prime sponsor on legislation leading to stricter penalties for violent offenders and legislation which created the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board which grants funding for education awareness and assistance to victims of child sexual abuse. He now serves as the chair of the Board.
“Today’s rally is part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week,” added Stumbo. “As we observe this week, our hearts go out to the families of those killed and injured at Virginia Tech last week. Although this week is dedicated to bringing the public’s attention to crime victims, recent events are an unfortunate reminder that violent crime and its impact on individuals and communities are an important issue every day of the year.”
A reception on the second floor of the Capitol followed the event.