Austin, Texas—April 20, 2015—This week Texans are commemorating National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Statewide organizations that serve victims of crime will be holding a series of events to raise awareness about crime victim issues. Everyone knows about a defendant’s right to remain silent, but do you know victims of crime have rights too?
Marina Herrera, whose aunt was beaten and stabbed to death by her husband of 17 years in her home, had to find out to find about victims’ rights the hard way when she lost her aunt and best friend in a domestic violence murder on December 14, of 2013. 47-year-old Elizabeth Garcia Tamez was murdered by her husband in her Austin home. She left behind a son who is now 11 years old and is being raised by family members. Jesus Juan Tamez is serving 20 years in prison for her murder.
Marina’s family had to make a lot of tough decisions along the way during the prosecution because the husband had a history of mental illness and many crime victims advocates helped guide the family through the process.
“If I can help one person from meeting the same fate that my aunt met, than speaking out is worth it. This has been a journey of struggle, sacrifice, time and the advocates have been so wonderful. I am blessed to have met them and to have not gone through this alone,” said Marina Herrera, whose aunt was murdered.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, Dr. Jennie Barr, Committee Chair of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and Texas Council on Family Violence CEO Gloria Terry joined Marina Herrera, a crime victim whose aunt was murdered in a domestic violence homicide, during a news conference about the rights of victims of violent crime during National Crime Victims Rights Week.
Crime Victims’ Rights Ceremony
There will also be a ceremony with dozens of victims of crime attending to raise awareness about crime-victim issues, by identifying and reaching out to victims who need our help, and by thinking anew about how to help individuals and communities harmed by crime.
The 2015 theme—Engaging Communities-Empowering Victims
Many victims of crime will gather at the ceremony to remember their loved ones and bring awareness to the victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drunken driving and a host of other crimes perpetrated on victims.
The ceremony will be held Tuesday, April 21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Central Christian Church at 1110 Guadalupe St. in Austin.
The Texas observance of Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being organized by Austin area victim service agencies that serve Texans across the state.
CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS WEEK PLANNING COMMITTEE:
Austin Police Department
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
Crime Victims’ Institute, Sam Houston State University
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
People Against Violent Crime
Texas Advocacy Project
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
Texas Council on Family Violence
Texas Court Appointed Special Advocates
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Texas Department of Public Safety
Texas Juvenile Justice Department
Texas Legal Services Center
Texas Office of the Attorney General
Texas Office of the Governor
Texas Victim Services Association
Travis County District Attorney’s Office
Travis County Sheriff’s Office