For Immediate Release
April 22, 2009
Contact: Loretta S. Neal
Office of Public Affairs
Victims’ Rights Week Observance
DJJ to hold press conference to honor victims of crime
Columbia, S.C. – In observance of National Victims’ Rights Week, the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) will hold a press conference on Thursday April 23, 2009 to announce new victim initiatives and to recognize agency efforts to provide victim services over the past year. Veronica Kunz, executive director of the South Carolina Victims’ Assistance Network, will speak during the press conference.
The press conference will be held at DJJ’s Victim’s Memorial Garden, which was created and is maintained by juveniles in memory of the victims of juvenile crime. New initiatives such as the Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) program will be discussed, as will ongoing efforts to raise funds for victim restitution, provide for victim services, and to provide juveniles with victim impact education. DJJ will also present a financial donation to the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network’s (SCVAN) Victim Information Program Emergency Assistance Fund. This gift is made up of funds raised entirely by incarcerated students for crime victims.
The Victim Offender Dialogue is a process that typically involves dialogue between the victim (or the victim’s family) and the offender in the presence of a trained facilitator. The dialogue provides an opportunity for the victim and offender to discuss the crime, get answers to questions, and express their feelings as part of the healing and recovery process.
Also during the Press Conference, two DJJ students will speak, detailing the impact that the agency’s victim education has had on their lives. Also, they address the newfound victim empathy they have developed while in DJJ custody.
DJJ’s statewide Victim Services Program (VSP) was established in 1997. Surleaner Lakin Smith serves as the statewide manager for the program that provides information and assistance to victims affected by juvenile crime. The program runs a toll-free Victims’ Assistance Hotline at (888) 224-6165.
What: A Department of Juvenile Justice press conference
in recognition of National Victims’ Rights Week
When: Thursday, April 23, 2009, 10:30 a.m.
Where: DJJ’s Broad River Road Complex (4900 Broad River Rd.), Columbia (Victim’s Memorial Garden)
Who: Executive Director of the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN) Veronica Kunz, DJJ Victim Services Coordinator Surleaner Lakin Smith, DJJ students, and Chief of Staff Margaret Barber.
As the state agency responsible for providing rehabilitation and custodial care for the state’s juveniles who are on probation, incarcerated, or on parole for a criminal or status offense, DJJ actively seeks partnerships that foster its mission. That mission supports the Governor’s mission by protecting the public and reclaiming juveniles through prevention, community programs, education and rehabilitative services in the least restrictive environment.
South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice
4900 Broad River Road
Columbia SC, 29212-3552
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The South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age. THE FOLLOWING OFFICES HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED TO HANDLE INQUIRIES REGARDING THE NONDISCRIMINATON POLICIES: Title IX -- Inspector General's Office -- 803-896-9595 Title II & 504 -- Special Education Office -- 803-896-8484.