By Mike Kruzman /

It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office is raising awareness for services they provide for survivors.

2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, with this year’s theme being “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.” Locally, Crime Victims’’ Rights Week is traditionally celebrated with a luncheon and awards ceremony that highlights champions of the cause. Due to the pandemic, this is the second straight year that that won’t be viable.

However, that’s not stopping the Prosecutor’s Office from spreading the word on the help they provide. Janice Carpenter is a Victim Advocate for the office and said they have come up with outside-of-the-box ideas like placemats for restaurants that information about local agencies that assist victims. Some of the agencies promoted include LACASA, Sexual Assault Recovery Assistance, Livingston Family Center, Mental Health Crisis Center, and the Youth Connection Services Center.

Carpenter said they are trying to let people know these services are available to them, but they’d also like the families of victims to know they can reach out for help, as well. She said victims are often afraid to come forward and they want to give them several opportunities and avenues for doing so.

Though focus may often fall on the rights of defendants in cases, Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a reminder that the people that have been victimized have rights of their own in court. These rights are extended to all victims, as well, whether the crime against them was violent like sexual or domestic abuse, or non-violent like credit card fraud.

Carpenter said they work with victims from the beginning of the charges through sentencing. They help them understand the court process, their rights, answer any questions, and lend what support they can inside the courtroom and out.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carolyn Henry said they work hand in hand daily with Victim Advocates to help survivors of crimes understand why the Prosecutor’s Office makes the decisions they do. She said there are lots of emotions in the process when you’re a victim, and they want to help them understand the reasoning behind the decisions they have to make.

More information on crime victims’ rights can be found on the Livingston County Prosecutor’s webpage.

Henry and Carpenter were guests Sunday on WHMI’s Viewpoint Program.