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Missouri Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony

Staff from the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) joined more than 135 advocates, state officials, police in uniform and other community members to observe the annual Missouri Crime Victims’ Rights Week on Thursday, April 26th in Jefferson City. The event was held at the South Lawn steps of the Missouri State Capitol. Attorney General Chris Koster spoke in honor of the struggle to “restore dignity to the lives of crime victims,” including more than 3,000 victims of domestic violence per month, most of whom are women. The Fulton High School Chamber singers performed the national anthem and a prayer song to remember youth victims. 

Sharon Alexander of Legal Services of Southern Missouri (LSOSM) in Springfield, Mo., said she drove two and a half hours to attend the event. Sharon said her organization works closely with the Department of Public Safety, MCADSV and the Attorney General’s office, and that she attends the commemoration nearly every year.

Several members of MCADSV attended the ceremony. Two-thirds of MCADSV staff attended, including Chief Executive Officer Colleen Coble.

The attorney general touted his 2010 Domestic Violence Task Force that led to a comprehensive improvement of Missouri’s laws to protect victims of domestic violence in 2011. Colleen had asked for support from candidates running for state office and obtained agreements to work on the issue, said Cheryl Robb-Welch, MCADSV’s Chief Operating Officer, after the event. MCADSV was an active Task Force participant.

Bud Balke of Mothers Against Drunk Driving noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of a landmark constitutional amendment establishing a bill of crime victims’ rights in Missouri. Speakers also acknowledged the bill’s original sponsor, Senator Harold Caskey (D-31).

The ceremony’s stage was also shared by representatives of the office of Governor Jay Nixon, Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Missouri Office of Prosecution Services and the Department of Correction Color Guard.

Top left photo: Jennifer Carter, MCADSV Education and Outreach Coordinator talks with attendee.
Top right photo: Courtesy of Department of Public Safety, CVSU.
Right photo: Brenda Sites, Secretary of State Office, Safe At Home department.
Bottom left photo: Entry for "The power to stop domestic violence is in your hands" poster contest. Photo courtesy of Department of Public Safety, CVSU.