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Providing Services and Support for Crime Victims

By District Attorney Shannon Wallace


“For too long, the victims of crime have been the forgotten persons of our criminal justice system….We need a renewed emphasis on, and an enhanced sensitivity to, the rights of victims. These rights should be a central concern of those who participate in the criminal justice system, and it is time all of us paid greater heed to the plight of victims.”– President Ronald W. Reagan, Proclamation, April 8, 1981


In 1981, President Reagan issued a proclamation that established National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW). In the 40 years since this week was established, it has become an annual opportunity for communities across the country to honor individuals affected by crime and acknowledge the services provided by victim advocates.

Shortly after the first NCVRW, new laws and programs were enacted that specifically addressed victims’ rights. In 1982, Congress passed a law that provided protection and assistance to crime victims in federal cases; two years later, Congress passed a law that gave crime victims the right to restitution, notification of court proceedings, and information about the conviction of offenders.

Georgia enacted similar laws including a constitutional amendment (passed in
1988) that authorized payment for services to people harmed by violent crime and the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights (passed in 1995) that provided the right for individuals to be informed, present, and heard concerning the criminal case in which they were affected. In 2018, Georgia voters passed Marsy’s Law, which added other victim rights to our state constitution.

In 1993, the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office established the Victim Witness Assistance Program to aid people affected by crime. Today, we have nine advocates on our staff who offer support and guidance to crime victims – 2,473 people in 2020 alone.

The services these advocates provide uphold the Georgia Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights including notification of case status, education about the criminal justice system, accompaniment and support during criminal proceedings, referrals to resources, and assistance in filing for victim related compensation.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Individuals who have been affected by crime are honored each year through rallies, vigils, forums, and other awareness activities. To adhere to safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s NCVRW will look different than the past, but the messages and relevance of this week will remain the same.

The 2021 theme is “Support Victims, Build Trust, and Engage Communities.” Throughout the week, our office will issue a series of Facebook posts that support crime victims, highlight services we provide, and reach out to members of our community. We will also provide information on statutory rights and what to do if you are ever a victim.

There was a time when crime victims seemed to be forgotten in our criminal justice system. This is no longer the case. Victims have rights, they have a voice, and they have support and services in the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office.

For more information, contact the Victim Witness Assistance Program at 770-479-1488 or visit

We hope you never find yourself in need of crime victim services. But if you do,
we are here to help guide you and protect your rights.



Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

Love is respect
866-331-9474, TTY 866-331-8453

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-SAFE, TTY 800-787-3224

National Human Trafficking Hotline

National Elder Fraud Hotline
833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311)

National Runaway Safeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255, TTY 800-799-4889

Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

Safe Helpline
877-995-5247, online chat

The Trevor Project

Veterans Crisis Line
800-273-8255 x1, TTY 800-799-4889