In honor of crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf, a class of Northwestern students in the Sociology Department has marked the calendar for next week’s annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW).
The students are actively observing the week by giving a presentation to engage and enlighten NW’s campus Wednesday, April 13, in Christ Chapel.
The Corrections class, instructed by adjunct professor Maureen Hansen, has been eagerly anticipating NCVRW and the mid-week chapel presentation. This is Hansen’s third year of teaching the course as well as implementing into the class a NCVRW project, but this is the first year chapel has had a part in the week-long project.
“The basis behind the project is to honor victims and to educate and bring awareness to the community about crime victims and their experiences, the impact of victimization, resources for help, statistics and how we can strengthen our communities when we help victims,” Hansen said.
Hansen finds the need to acknowledge NCVRW because victims are often pushed to the side, ignored, and their voices are left unheard.
“We spend so much time addressing the needs and issues of offenders and do not pay enough attention to victims,” stated Hansen.
Hansen further believes that victims are expected to help themselves and find resources to try to overcome their issues on their own. Community members can play a vital role by supporting victims. Step one is bringing awareness to victims and their present needs.
Throughout the week, the class will have a booth set up on campus with additional information and resources. The students are also promoting NCVRW to the community through public service announcements and articles in the media.
Senior Daniel Solis said, “I have been in contact with all the local media, trying to get them involved with us and get this week and event known to the community.” Solis has contacted radio station KSOU of Sioux Center, Channel 9, the Sioux City Journal, the Advisor and the Sioux County Democrat.
In addition to participating in NCVRW, the corrections class has also had the opportunity to learn about criminal justice with an emphasis on the court process, incarceration issues and re-entry and the role of community–based corrections.
The class has ventured off campus to observe the Plymouth County Drug Court and interview residents at the Sheldon Residential Treatment Facility. Later this month they will be touring the Federal Prison in Yankton.
The corrections class hopes that they can bring awareness to campus and the community through the remembrance of victims and their encouragement to support victims of crimes, all of which coincides with the U.S. Office of Victims of Crimes’ 2011 theme: “Reshaping the future, honoring the past.”