By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — Snyder County District Attorney Michael Piecuch came out in support of enhanced funding for victim services Monday as he joined the commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
“Our state leaders must recognize that providing core services to victims is critical to the integrity of the criminal justice system. We continue to mandate resources to serve the rights of criminal defendants — their victims deserve no less,” he said.
Though the country has set aside a week to remember victims of crimes since 1981, “In reality, every week is crime victims’ week because without crime victims, we would have no need for a criminal justice system. Until that day comes though, we will continue fighting to make sure that victims are treated with the dignity, fairness and respect they deserve,” Piecuch said.
In the 32 years since President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, “great progress” has been made to create and promote the rights of crime victims.
Piecuch said those advancements include a crime victims’ bill of rights established in Pennsylvania in 1984; the creation of the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate in 1995 to represent the rights and interests of crime victims statewide and connect victims with local services; a state Office of Victim Services to establish priorities in the areas of victims’ services and compensation; and the implementation of the PA SAVIN program in 2007 to provide around-the-clock access to the custody status of jailed offenders.
Snyder County participates in the PA SAVIN program, allowing county residents to register for automated telephone or email notification of key activities related to a specific criminal case. This includes a county inmate’s release, transfer or escape.
The district attorney’s office also employs a full-time victim-witness coordinator to assist victims with their needs.
For information about these services, call Piecuch’s office at 837-4233, visit www.pacrimevictims.org or call 1-866-972-7284.