This is National Crime Victims' Rights Week, and the Caddo Sheriff's Office has several events to kick off the commemoration.

The public is invited to join parish and city officials at 10 a.m. for a proclamation ceremony on the Texas Street side of the Caddo Parish Courthouse. The ceremony will recognize the advancements made and services available to victims of crime.

The public is also invited to participate in an awareness walk immediately following the proclamation ceremony. Participants will walk as a group from the Courthouse throughout the downtown area to bring attention to victims’ rights.

Crime Victims’ Rights Week will be recognized nationally April 22nd through 27th. A Victims’ Rights Information Fair from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, 2821 Greenwood Road, will be the final local event for the week.

The public is invited to attend the fair to obtain free information from 14 victim-service agencies including the Caddo Sheriff’s Office, Shreveport Police Department, Caddo District Attorney’s Office, Center for Families (for juvenile counseling), Providence House, and Elderly Protection Services.

This year’s CVRW theme - "New Challenges. New Solutions." - celebrates the progress made for crime victims, despite many challenges, according to Sheriff Prator. Only 30 years ago, crime victims had no rights, access to crime victim compensation, or services to help rebuild their lives. They were often excluded from courtrooms, treated as an afterthought by the criminal justice system, and denied an opportunity to speak at sentencing. Today, all states have enacted crime victims’ rights laws and established crime victim compensation funds.

Sheriff Prator says National Crime Victims’ Rights Week reminds us that there is still work to do and many challenges still remain. Crime victims’ rights are not universal and are often not enforced. Only a small percentage of victims receive crime victim compensation, which is usually limited to victims of violent crime.

According to a National Crime Victimization Survey, more than 50-percent of violent crimes were not reported to police in 2006-2010. In addition, a 2011 report titled the Use of Victim Services Agencies by Victims of Serious Violent Crime showed that only 9-percent of violent crime victims received needed services in 1993-2009.

For additional information about 2013 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to help victims in your community, contact the Caddo Sheriff’s Office at 681-0870 or visit the Office for Victims of Crime website.