Since 1981, National Crime Victims' Rights Week has challenged the Nation to confront and remove barriers to achieving justice for all victims of crime. In commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) hosted three special ceremonies across the state to remember those who have lost their lives to violence, honor the resilience of survivors, and recognize the work of those who promote healing and seek justice on behalf of crime victims in Georgia.
This year’s NCVRW theme,” Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change”, called upon communities to amplify the voices of survivors and commit to creating an environment where survivors have the confidence that they will be heard, believed, and supported.
In honor of the theme, CJCC collaborated with community partners across the state to plan this year’s NCVRW ceremonies. At each event, CJCC presented special awards to individuals and organizations who have made great contributions to the advancement and improvement of victim services in Georgia.
CJCC kicked off NCVRW on Monday, April 24, at the Georgia Association of Women in Public Safety Conference in Decatur, GA. This event included remarks from survivor Janet Paulsen and the presentation of awards to Senator John Albers (Georgia Legislator of the Year Award), Senator Kim Jackson (Georgia Legislator of the Year Award), K-9 Rose and Angela Thorne (Georgia Crime Victim Service Collaborative and Innovative Project Award), Special Agent Elizabeth Coody (Georgia Women in Public Safety Going Above and Beyond Award) and Delta Air Lines (Georgia Corporate Leadership Award). Distinguished guests in attendance included Senator John Albers, Senator Kim Jackson, District Attorney Sherry Boston, District Attorney Flynn D. Broady Jr., and CJCC Council Members Shawanda Reynolds-Cobb, and Brian DiNapoli.
In partnership with Crisis Line & Safe House of Central Georgia and One Safe Place Macon, the next ceremony was held on April 26 at the Macon-Bibb County Commission Chamber. Macon serves as one of Georgia’s pilot sites for CJCC’s Family Justice Center initiative. Family Justice Centers are multi-agency, multi-disciplinary, co-located centers that provide services to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse victims. They also provide a space for victims and their families to receive an array of services in one place. During the ceremony, CJCC presented awards to Senator Blake Tillery (Georgia Legislator of the Year Award), Linda Crowell (Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Survivors Award), GEICO (Georgia Corporate Leadership Award), and District Attorney Anita R. Howard (One Safe Place Macon Hope Hero Award). Distinguished guests in attendance included Mayor Lester Miller, Senator John F. Kennedy, Senator Blake Tillery, Representative Miriam Paris, Solicitor-General Rebecca L. Grist, and Mayor Pro Tem Seth Clark.
The third and final ceremony was held on April 27 in Savannah, GA at the Coastal Georgia Education Center. In partnership with the Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center, SAFE Shelter, and Mary’s Place: Sexual Assault of the Coastal Empire, Inc, CJCC presented awards to Representative Bill Hitchens (Georgia Legislator of the Year Award), Jennifer King of Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (CASA) (Georgia Crime Victim Service Collaborative and Innovative Project Award), Georgia Office of Victim Services (Georgia Crime Victim Service Collaborative and Innovative Project Award), Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council (Georgia Crime Victim Service Collaborative and Innovative Project Award) and Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (Georgia Corporate Leadership Award). Distinguished guests in attendance included Representative Bill Hitchens, Alderwoman Linda Wilder Bryan, and Savannah Chief of Police Lenny Gunther.
CJCC also shared special video presentations from Governor Brian Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp and Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones. They all emphasized the importance of the victims' rights movement in Georgia and reflected on how far we have come.
CJCC would like to thank everyone who supported our efforts to recognize Georgia crime victims and advocates. To view photos from our 2023 NCVRW ceremonies, please click the link below.
About the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC)
Created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1981 as an Executive Branch agency, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) represents the culmination of many efforts to establish a statewide body that would build consensus and unity among the State's diverse and interdependent, criminal justice system components. For more information visit the CJCC website: https://cjcc.georgia.gov/.
Dannielle Lewis – Communications Director