Illinois Observes National Crime Victims' Rights Week as General Assembly Considers Constitutional Amendment to Enforce Crime Victim Rights

CHICAGO -- Victims of violent crimes and their families will take part in events across Illinois during National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 22-28, to advocate for more effective and enforceable rights.

This year's observance comes as the Illinois General Assembly considers a proposed amendment to the State Constitution that would expand and enforce a victims' rights provision added to the document 20 years ago.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee on Wednesday sent the proposed amendment, HJRCA 29, to the full Senate. The measure previously was approved in the House 116-2. It now goes to the Senate floor, and if approved, would head back to the House for its final OK given wording changes made in the Senate version. Once approved by both chambers of the General Assembly, the proposed amendment would be put to voters in the November 6 elections.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week for three decades has successfully promoted awareness of victims' rights and services and honored countless crime victims and survivors. This year's theme—Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim— calls on people to expand the vision that inspired the movement and celebrate the progress achieved to date. It captures the spirit and resolve needed to realize the common goal of reaching each victim in need of hope and help, one victim at a time.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week will be officially dedicated on April 20 in Washington, DC, at the Department of Justice's annual Attorney General's National Crime Victims' Service Awards Ceremony, which honors outstanding individuals and programs that serve victims of crime.

Illinois will observe National Crime Victims' Rights week with special events and programs from April 22–April 28.  Events planned for the week include the following:

Sunday, April 22 – Springfield

12 pm

5K Run/Walk/Roll for Your Rights


Raising awareness of crime victims' rights and supporting a Peace Garden dedicated to crime victims are the goals of this second annual event. Registration is available through the website and costs $25 per participant or $50 for a family of three or more. All participants receive a t-shirt and specially designed medal for completion of the course.


Location: Southwind Park , 4965 S. Second Street


Sponsored by FBI Springfield Citizens' Academy Alumni Association,
the Springfield Park District's Southwind Park, Scheels, Springfield Running Center.


     Contact: Lee Milner, 217-836-3137 or visit


2 pm

Victim Rights Rally


Event features a memorial walk to the Crime Victims' Memorial Peace Garden and rally featuring nationally-known guest speaker Bill Jenkins, a respected author and victims' rights advocate.


Location: Erin's Pavilion at Southwind Park, 4965 S. Second Street


Sponsored by Illinois Victim Assistance Network          


     Contact: 217-523-6233


Monday, April 23 - Peoria

1:30 pm

Crime Victims Rights Panel Discussion


Local elected officials, law enforcement, victims advocates, social service providers and others will discuss the issue of enforceable rights for victims of violent crimes and their families.


Location: Illinois Central College – North Campus


Sponsored by Illinois Central College Human Service Department


     Contact: Yolanda Wallace, 309-648-2951 or [email protected]


Tuesday, April 24 – Chicago


9 am – 4 pm

DePaul University "Blue for Peace" Symposium


DePaul University will host a citywide symposium involving 60-100 Chicago community leaders and organizations working in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights Week and as part of the yearlong "Blue for Peace" project designed to raise awareness and address youth violence in Chicago.


Location: Lincoln Park Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield, Room 314


Sponsored by DePaul University and Chicago Citizens for Change


     Contact: Mark Laboe, [email protected]


Wednesday, April 25 – Belleville


7 – 9 pm

Parents of Murdered Children Candlelight Services


Remembrance of all victims of crimes with music, poems, candles, flowers and guest speakers.


Location: National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows


442 S. DeMazenod Drive, Belleville (Located on Illinois State Highway 15)


Sponsored by Parents of Murdered Children of Missouri and Illinois


     Contact: Mata Weber, 618-972-0429


Friday, April 27 – Edwardsville

4 – 6 pm

30th Memorial of Remembrance


Music, memorials and guest speakers                  


Location: Library Park -- Corner of Buchanan/Rt. 159 and Park Streets


Sponsored by Mata Weber and Karen Hock Family


     Contact: Mata Weber, 618-972-0429

Additionally, State's Attorney's offices across the state are observing National Crime Victims' Rights Week with weeklong displays, booths, art exhibitions and other activities. Many will have materials and information related to victims' rights available.  Contact your county State's Attorney office for more information.

About Marsy's Law for Illinois
Marsy's Law for Illinois would protect the rights and safety of crime victims and ensure they are informed about court proceedings involving their attackers. Currently, crime victims have legal rights under Illinois law, but they are not enforceable.

HJRCA 29, which passed the Illinois House on February 8, is a constitutional amendment that seeks to provide a solution to the current violation of victims' rights in Illinois. It will reform and provide enforcement mechanisms for the 1992 draft of Victims' Rights provisions in Article I, Section 8.1 of the Illinois Constitution. The amendment would ensure that crime victims are:

  • Guaranteed the right to be informed of court proceedings
  • Guaranteed the right to be present at trials and hearings regarding their case
  • Guaranteed the right to present a written statement to the court about the impact a violent crime has had on them
  • Provided greater access to post trial proceedings
  • Guaranteed timely action on requests
  • Allowed to appeal decisions that affect the exercise of their personal rights.

In 1992, Illinois was one of the first states to include rights for victims of violent crime in its state constitution. However, despite Illinois' groundbreaking and noble intentions, the wording of the original amendment did not provide remedies for violations. The proposed new amendment, Marsy's Law for Illinois, would correct that flaw while also expanding on the rights codified in the 1992 amendment.

HJRCA 29 is modeled after Marsy's Law in California, which was enacted as a state constitutional amendment by referendum in 2008. Marsy's Law is named for Marsy Nicholas, a 23-year-old graduate student at University of California Santa Barbara who was stalked and murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 1983. A week after Nicholas's funeral, her mother was confronted by the murderer in a local supermarket. The family had not been informed of his release after he posted bail. He was later tried and found guilty of the crime.

Other states, including Arizona, Oregon and California, have recently passed constitutional amendments making victims' rights enforceable.

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  • B Howard
    published this page in Latest News 2020-10-02 13:50:09 -0700