Eau Claire County kicks off Crime Victims’ Rights Week

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- If you were to fall victim for a crime, would you know your rights?

Eau Claire County kicked off Crime Victims’ Rights Week on Monday. The goal is to get the word out to people about what services are available to them if they fall victim to a crime.

Many of those services are meant to help victims feel more at ease during the legal process.

“The legal process can be overwhelming for victims,” Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer said.

Sheriff Cramer says when it comes to crime, anyone can become a victim. He added since 1984 a program has been around that has made the justice system easier to navigate for victims of crime.

“We don't want any surprises for the family or victims. We want to be able to explain the criminal justice system because the process is confusing,” Cramer explained.

Cramer says it’s been 30 years since the enactment of the U.S. Victims of Crime Act.

In Eau Claire County, Victim Witness Services works to help victims of crime get the resources they need.

“A lot of times the victims want to be a part of court hearings. What we do is we accompany them to those hearings,” Victim Service Coordinator Jessica Bryan said.

Bryan and her colleagues at the district attorney's office helps more than 40 people per week who have been victims of crime. No matter what the nature of the crime Bryan says it’s her job to get the victim the justice they deserve.

“Victims of crimes do have rights. They aren't asking to be victimized that’s why we work hard to get them justice,” Bryan said.

In the State of Wisconsin the Victim Witness Program is entirely funded through fines collected from offenders convicted of federal crimes.

Bryan says in a six month period around $58-thousand was collected in just Eau Claire County alone to help fund the program.

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