CONTACT: Angela Hale 512-289-2995 angela@redmediagroup.com
Austin, Texas—April 14, 2011—Tonight, Texans are gathering for a candle lighting ceremony to honor victims of crime as a part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The ceremony is a way to provide communities across the United States with a unique opportunity to contribute to reshaping the future for victims of crime—by raising awareness about crime-victim issues, by identifying and reaching out to victims who need our help, and by thinking anew about how to help individuals and communities harmed by crime.

This annual observance emceed by Texas Council on Family Violence President, Gloria A. Terry, also reminds us that, by honoring the past, we stand on the shoulders of those who led our nation’s struggle to secure basic rights, protections, and services for crime victims.

Many victims of crime will gather at the ceremony tonight to remember their loved ones and bring awareness to the victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drunken driving and a host of other crimes perpetrated on victims.

There are victims of crime every second of every day through out our nation and here in our home state of Texas.
• Victim of murder every 6 hours and 19 minutes in Texas
• A child is reported abused or neglected every 8.5 minutes in Texas
• Victim of sexual assault every hour
• Victim of dating abuse every hour in Texas
• Victim of theft every 14 minutes in Texas
• Victim of domestic violence every 36 minutes in Texas
• Victim of alcohol related crash every 40 minutes in Texas
• Victim of home burglary every two minutes in Texas
• Victim of identity theft every 5 minutes in Texas
• Elderly person is victimized every 11 minutes in Texas

We must work to ensure victims’ rights are always enforced. That is why we need to recall the ideals that inspired the decades-long struggle of the victims’ rights movement and challenge all Americans to honor victims’ rights. Laura Dean Mooney, President of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving will be the keynote speaker.

The Texas observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being organized by the Austin area victim service agencies coalition in cooperation with the Texas Victim Service Association (TVSA). The kickoff event is Thursday night 7 at the Town Lake Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel in Austin, Texas.

The Texas Council on Family Violence Board of Directors will also honor the 83 staff and volunteers statewide who have dedicated 20 years or more to ending family violence and keeping families safe across Texas. Representing the 83 pioneers in the domestic violence movement are:

• Elva Gonzalez who has served 32 years at the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center
• Gail Rice who has served 30 years in Austin at the Center For Battered Women/SafePlace
• Melinda Cantu who has provided 21 years to SafePlace in Austin

The Texas Council on Family Violence National Crime Victims’ Rights Winners will be honored at a luncheon Friday afternoon at Holiday Inn-Town Lake from 12-1:30 p.m.

The following organizations will be participating in the kickoff event.
Office of Governor
Office of the Attorney General
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
People Against Violent Crimes
Texas Advocacy Project
MADD Texas State
Texas CASA
Texas Council on Family Violence
VICARS
Travis County District Attorney’s Office
For the Love of Christi
TDCJ Victim Services Division
Texas Victim Services Association
Texas Department of Public Safety
Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
United Way Killeen
Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue
Texas District & County Attorneys Association
Texas Lawyers Care
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
Texas Access to Justice Foundation
Travis County Sheriff’s Office
Texas Legal Services Center
The Ortralla LuWone Mosely Foundation
Stephanie Frogge/Garden Charms
Texas Sheriffs Association