District Attorney’s Office holds Crime Victims’ Rights Candlelight Vigil

This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and to honor those victims the District Attorney’s Office hosted their annual candlelight and award ceremony.

Survivors, law enforcement, and family members of victims gathered together at First Baptist Church in Gulfport to honor those who lost their lives in senseless acts of violence and celebrate those who made it out. District Attorney Crosby Parker said, “This week is special because generally the only time we come together is at a time of tragedy, at a crime scene, or when we are preparing for trial. So, to be able to work with them and come together now to celebrate not only the survivors, but the work that each of them do all year round is very special.”

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week allows those that have lost loved ones and those that have worked the cases of these victims time to reflect and also bring awareness to the services that are available. Victim Assistance Coordinator Franchelle Daniels said, “We have victims of crime. We have victims of homicide, sexual assault. We have service providers that are deemed specifically to help these people get through this.”

During the ceremony, candles were lit to remember those affected by crime. After the lighting of the candles, three awards were given out including one to Hope Haven Children’s Advocacy Center for their ongoing efforts to help crime victims and their families on their journey. Family Advocate Supervisor Debra Foster said, “The goal at CAC is to provide mental health services, forensic interviews, emotional support to families of victims of crimes. So, we do forensic interviews with children that have been sexually or physically molested on a felony level.”

Crosby says this year’s theme is ‘survivor voices: elevate. engage. effect change.’ He hopes it will encourage both victims and witnesses to come forward for the safety of our community and generations to come. “We need to engage each and every day so that when crime does occur, they know that resources are out there. When we hear those voices that we are able to elevate that so that we can make sure to hold accountable the people responsible for the crimes and then not only provides services for the victim, but for their families.”

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