National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being observed April 19-25, but abuse victims might not be getting the chance to seek help due to pandemic restrictions, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office says.
During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, victim advocacy organizations, community groups and state, local and tribal agencies traditionally host rallies, candlelight vigils and other events to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services.
This year, many communities are organizing virtual gatherings and online public awareness campaigns featuring the theme, “Seek Justice, Ensure Victims’ Rights, Inspire Hope.”
Social distancing and stay-home requirements in response to the pandemic crisis have significantly impacted reports of abuse in Kansas, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office says.
The Department for Children and Families recently reported the daily average of calls made to the state’s Protection Report Center dipped 57 percent year-to-year from March 2019 for reports of child abuse and 20 percent for reports of adult abuse. The reduced reporting likely reflects a decrease in seeking help for victims, not a decrease in abuse, the AG’s office says.
The center’s phone number remains active for Kansans to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect at 1-800-922-5330. In cases in which the victim may be in imminent danger, call 911.
Other victims services resources that remain available are:
Attorney General’s Office Victims Services Division by phone at (800) 828-9745 and at https://ag.ks.gov/victim-services/information-for-crime-victims.
Kansas Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) by phone at (866) 574-8463 or online at https://ag.ks.gov/victim-services/kansas-vine.
Kansas Crisis Hotline for victims experiencing domestic and sexual violence at (888) END-ABUSE or (888) 363-2287.
National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888 or text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733.
“The Crime Victims’ Rights Act has been of great interest in Congress recently, with many amendments to expand victims’ rights being proposed and seriously considered,” Kansas Ciy-based U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement. “So there is certainly some strong sentiment that prosecutors should be doing more, not less, to be sensitive to the concerns and needs of victims.”
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was first observed in 1981 through a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan. For more info on how to create your own public campaigns to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights online and at events throughout the year, visit https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2020/overview.html