County officials on Wednesday honored National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 10-16) with a variety of events in Līhu‘e intended to raise awareness and support for victims and survivors of crime.
In the morning, the Kaua‘i County Council presented a certificate to representatives from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, including Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar, Victim/Witness Program Director Diana Gausepohl-White, and Victim/Witness counselors Marla Torres-Lam and Storm Sasaki.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. also issued a proclamation to the group at the Līhu‘e Civic Center in support of the event.
Earlier in the week, the Council Services and Buildings Division illuminated the Historic County Building in purple lighting in honor of the victims’ rights movement.
“We are grateful to our County leaders and to all the service providers in our Office and in the wider community, including the YWCA and Malama Pono, who work so diligently to provide services to those who have been through traumatic events,” Kollar said. “The criminal justice system can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience; our goal is to make the experience as victim-centered, understandable and transparent as possible as we undertake our mission of seeking justice.”
Across Hawai‘i, events in each county marked the occasion, with lighting ceremonies and other events designed to highlight the weeklong occasion.
The recognition comes as Marsy’s Law, the proposed crime victim bill of rights for victims of crime, continues its progress through the state legislature.
“Hawai‘i is one of only 18 states to not enshrine the rights of crime victims in its State Constitution; we hope that changes this year,” Kollar said.
If Marsy’s Law successfully clears the remaining legislative hurdles, it will appear on the election ballot this fall as a proposed amendment to the Hawai‘i Constitution.