MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – In recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2022, members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office joined leaders of the law enforcement and the victim advocate community Thursday and held a virtual conference to recognize crime victims.
Speakers included Anthony DeVincenzo, M.A., a retired lieutenant from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office who is currently a Training Specialist with the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center; Commissioner Deputy Director John Krickus; and Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll. Additionally, a victim speaker recounted her domestic violence victimization experience in order that her story may provide courage for others who are dealing with similar situations.
Attendees included Diana Kurlander, Vice President, Client Services of JBWS Safety, Support & Solutions Abuse; Maria Lagattuta, Director of the Morris County Family Justice Center / JBWS; Maria Vinci Savettiere, Esq., Executive Director of Deirdre’s House, The Center for Morris County’s Child Victims; Mirella Diaz, Associate Director / MDT Coordinator / Clinician of Deirdre’s House, and Morris Plains Police Chief Michael Koroski.
Marking its 41th anniversary this year, Congress annually declares one week in April as Crime Victims’ Rights Week to honor and recognize crime victims. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being observed from April 24-30, 2022. The theme this year is “Rights, Access, and Equity for all Victims.” The theme underscores the importance of enforcing victim rights, expanding access to services, and ensuring equity and inclusion for all victims.
Commissioner Deputy Director Krickus presented the Proclamation recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week approved by the Board of Commissioners.
In keeping with this year’s theme, Morris County Prosecutor Carroll dedicated a stepping stone near the victims’ tree as a symbol for victims taking the first step to healing. The victims’ tree was lit during the week to serve as a beacon of hope. In addition, a wreath adorned with a “2022 in Recognition and Remembrance” ribbon has been placed next to the tree.
Colonel Pat Callahan and Major Phillip Buck as well as other ranking Officers of the New Jersey State Police also attended and provided their support and commitment to the protections and expansion of victim’s rights efforts at all levels of law enforcement.
Morris County Sheriff James Gannon added his perspective that victim’s rights programs are a critical element in ensuring public trust in the criminal justice system and also serves to motivate and reassure citizen-victims that they can have confidence in coming forward with evidence of crimes.
“Our goals and visions are to continue to expand services, so that all victims can access such services and move forward with confidence in the criminal justice system. It bears noting that the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Program has been providing critical services for over 40 years, and has set the standard for victim assistance programs for other counties to follow. All victim witness services need the support and funding from our county leadership. Morris County has been blessed with consistent support for these critical programs,” Carroll said.
Anthony DeVincenzo applauded the multi-disciplinary approach utilized in Morris County, “I’m consistently amazed by the passionate and dedicated people who are out there doing the work providing services for children and families. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say especially proud and overwhelmed by the work you’ve been doing in the last two years under what I can only imagine are the most trying of circumstances.”
“When you are bringing together a team of people, leveraging all of their expertise, knowledge, and skills, and providing a coordinated response to those victims and/or their circumstances, you are going to have better outcomes. I’ve seen that in my work in Morris County, and across the country. There will be better outcomes for victims and families,” DeVincenzo said.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is intended to raise awareness of victims’ rights and services, highlighting programs, celebrating progress achieved, and honoring victims, the professionals, and agencies who serve them.