SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Every year, millions of people in the United States are affected by crime and many will need ongoing care and resources. Each year in April, the country observes National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) to celebrate the progress achieved, promote victims’ rights and services, raise awareness about their needs, and support those whose lives have been forever altered by crime.
In 2019, there were 5,866 violent crime incidents and 6,635 offenses reported in Utah by 77 law enforcement agencies that submitted incident-based data.
This year’s theme is “Support victims, build trust, and engage communities,” recognizing the strong foundation upon which the field of crime victims assistance is guilty and focuses on providing all survivors with help, hope, and healing.
There are multiple agencies in the state that provide resources to victims of crimes. One is the Utah Office for Victims of Crime (UOVC), which provides financial compensation to survivors. It also administers and monitors Victim of Crime Act Compensation and Assistance grants and Violence Against Women grants, networks victim services across the state, provides enhanced training, and provides staff support to the Utah Council on Victims of Crime.
Another resource that exists to educate the community and give victims a safe platform to share their story is the Utah Survivors Podcast, hosted by Brandon Merrill and Alexandra Merritt who are both advocates for survivors. The podcast rotates between a service provider and a victim’s story weekly.
Deborah Dilley, a survivor and one of the guests featured on the Utah Survivors Podcast joined ABC4’s Emily Florez for an IN FOCUS discussion on her experience and healing journey.
Brandon Merrill, Executive Director of Utah Homicide Survivors talked about his organization and the impact of their podcast. Gary Scheller, Director of UOVC discussed the services and resources available to victims, the meaning of this year’s NCVRW theme, the data and statistics in our state, and what’s next to improve the quality of life for survivors.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Dilley, Merrill, and Scheller, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.