By the President of the United States of America
Every year, more than 36 million people in America become the victims of crime. Offenders prey on our daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, parents, grandparents, and friends. Violent crime is creating fear and insecurity in communities across our Nation.
To ensure justice and promote healing, a grassroots crime victims' movement has worked to enact numerous initiatives in State legislatures across the country-laws that now provide crucial rights for crime victims and their families. As we mark National Crime Victims' Rights Week this year, Americans join in remembering the fallen, in celebrating criminal justice reforms, and in envisioning a future free from violence.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which I signed into law this past September, ensures that our criminal justice system recognizes the victims. Its provisions include allocution rights for victims of violent crime and sexual abuse, truth in sentencing guidelines to ensure that violent offenders serve longer sentences, and sex offender registries designed to monitor offenders more effectively. This Act will help put 100,000 more police officers on the streets of our communities. And the landmark Violence Against Women Act is the first comprehensive Federal effort to address violence against women.
But no government can be truly effective without the active involvement of its citizens. Victim advocacy-the work of the more than 8,000 organizations and the countless individuals we honor this week-can be a lifeline to emotional survival. When random bullets wound a child, when a battered woman needs shelter in the night, when a rape survivor seeks help-victim advocates are there to comfort and support. Many of our Nation's crime victims and advocates work tirelessly in schools, neighborhoods, and youth custody facilities. They give faces and names to the statistics of crime, opening young peoples' eyes to the reality of violence and helping to plant seeds of responsibility that can last a lifetime.
We nonetheless recognize that much remains to be done. But with continued partnerships between every level of government, criminal justice and victim advocacy organizations, and crime survivors and their families, America can begin to replace the nightmare of crime with a bright new day of hope.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 23 through April 29, 1995, as "National Crime Victims' Rights Week." I urge all Americans to pause and remember the victims of crime and to join in honoring those who serve crime victims and their families by working to reduce violence, to assist those harmed by crime, and to make our homes and communities safer places in which to live.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.
William J. Clinton
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:35 a.m., April 27, 1995]