Honoring National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 24, 2023

Crime victimization is an all-too-common experience across the country. In 2021, an estimated 2.7 million people aged 12 or older experienced at least one violent crime. Of those, less than half (46 percent) of violent victimizations were reported to police. Approximately 9 percent of violent victimizations resulted in a victim receiving assistance from a victim service provider. Other types of nonviolent crime, such as property crime or theft, impacted over 8 million households.   

Not all populations face victimization at the same rates. Individuals who are LGBTQ+, BIPOC, or who have disabilities face higher rates of victimization. These individuals also face additional challenges to accessing services, such as linguistic, cultural, physical, financial, or geographic barriers.   

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) has been observed nationally since 1981 to draw attention to victims’ rights and services. During this week in April, communities across the country reflect on dynamics of victimization and how crime victimization impacts individuals, families, and communities.  

Communities nationwide also take this time to honor crime victims and highlight policies, programs, and practices that support victims of crime. These efforts increase local and national awareness of, and access to, services and supports for crime victims and their loved ones. The Office for Victims of Crime leads national efforts supporting communities throughout the country in their observances of NCVRW, including awards and events; community awareness projects; and outreach materials, such as videos and public service announcements.  

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Though efforts related to sexual assault awareness have been championed since the 1940s and 50s, primarily by communities of Black women, the first official SAAM took place in 2001. SAAM is about awareness as well as prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse and is coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Resource Sharing Project 

Defining “Victim”

Despite the name of NCVRW, individuals who are victimized may identify in many ways. While victims are typically thought of as individuals who have been harmed or injured as a result of a crime, not all people who have been victimized identify as victims. They may instead see themselves as survivors, or may not even identify as having been victimized at all. Harms and injuries are also expansive; harms may be physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, and more. Considering the many ways in which harm may be incurred and experienced, it is vital for individuals who have been victimized to determine how to define their process and identity.  

The CSG Justice Center’s Work to Support Crime Victims

Through a variety of projects, the CSG Justice Center seeks to understand and elevate the experiences of crime victims. Collaborating with jurisdictions across the country, the CSG Justice Center works to increase services and improve systemic responses for victims of crime. Current efforts focus on restitution, victim compensation, and domestic violence.  

Additional Resources 

National Crime Victims Week

Sexual Assault Awareness Month 

National Hotlines 

  • Love is Respect National Teen Dating Abuse 
    • Text: 22522; 24/7 availability text/call  


About the author

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Senior Policy Analyst, State Initiatives
Carly Murray supports ongoing work in multiple states to serve survivors of crime by engaging with diverse stakeholders and providing technical assistance. Previously, Carly worked as a case manager with Chicago Torture Justice Center, where she supported survivors of police
violence. Her research focuses on women’s and families’ experiences and needs related to trauma, criminalization, and access to social services. Carly started her career as a case manager for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. She holds a BA in psychology and French from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA in social work, social policy, and social administration from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
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