News Release

Agencies' and non-profits' work on behalf of crime victims highlighted April 26

April 25, 2022
#22-011

TUMWATER — Three state agencies who work on behalf of crime victims are partnering with local and national experts for an April 26 event highlighting crime victims' rights.

The event will be hosted by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). It will start at 10 a.m. and will be streaming online at www.Lni.wa.gov/CrimeVictims.

This year's theme is "Rights, Access, and Equity for Crime Victims."

"We have an inspiring lineup of speakers," said Richard Torrance, managing director of the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) at the state Department of Commerce. "This is an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on our efforts supporting victims of crime."

Speakers at this year's event include:

  • Dr. Karen "Dr. J" Johnson, founding director of the Washington State Office of Equity. Dr. Johnson was also the first Equity & Inclusion Administrator for the Washington State Department of Corrections;
  • Prof. Meg Garvin, executive director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute and a leading expert on victims' rights. She is nationally recognized for her contributions to preventing and responding to sexual assault in the military; and,
  • Jorge Barón, executive director, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. The agency provides comprehensive immigration legal services to families in Washington.

The event will also include a presentation of the Nancy Hawley Lifetime Achievement Award to Sheila Lewallen. The award is in recognition of Lewallen's more than 40 years of advocacy for crime victims, and her work at the state Department of Corrections.

State support of crime victims

The event will also feature the work of  event sponsors from the state departments of Labor & Industries (Crime Victims Compensation Program), Commerce (Office of Crime Victim Advocacy), and Corrections (Victim Services). In 2021 that work included:

  • More than $15 million in support for crime victims from L&I, across more than 4,500 claims. The program also paid for more than 3,500 sexual assault exams.
  • More than $50 million in Department of Commerce grants to Tribes, local governments and community non-profits. Those entities provided services and advocacy to more than 50,000 people impacted by crime and violence.
  • More than 9,500 people served through the Department of Corrections' Advance Notifications program, and over 250 referrals to address specific safety concerns of crime victims.

"No amount of money can erase the pain a victim faces as a result of a violent crime," said Cletus Nnanabu, who heads L&I's Crime Victims Compensation Program. "We can only hope our efforts contribute, in a small way, to their recovery and ease the financial burden they and their families may face.

About Crime Victims' Rights Week

National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 24 – 30, raises awareness about crime victims' issues and rights. It also provides the community information on important resources and services available.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation recommitting to ensuring all victims of crime are afforded their rights and receive a trauma-informed response.

The federal Office for Victims of Crime — part of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs — began National Crime Victims' Rights Week in 1981.

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For media information:

Matthew Erlich, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-6508

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