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Prosecutor’s Office marks National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

  • Tim Hansen, who manages the Restorative Justice Program of the Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, decorates a rock Monday for the Kona Memorial Peace Garden. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • One of the many rocks decorated Monday urges people to believe survivors. It was placed in the newly dedicated Kona Memorial Peace Garden at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Hawaii County staff decorate rocks to be placed in the newly dedicated Kona Memorial Peace Garden on Monday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Tina Chia, left, a victim witness counselor with the Hawaii County Office the Prosecuting Attorney, and Tim Hansen, who manages the Restorative Justice Program, decorate rocks to be placed in the new Kona Memorial Peace Garden at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • A T-shirt included in the "Clothesline Project," which features a variety of T-shirts designed and decorated by victims of crimes on the Big Island, urges victims to speak up. The Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Unit-event kicked off National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which runs through Friday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • The new Kona Memorial Peace Garden, which honors loved ones who have lost their lives due to crime, was dedicated Monday at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. The garden was supposed to be complete last year, however, its dedication was delayed to 2021 due to the pandemic. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • A woman puts the finishing touches on a rock Monday morning to be placed in the newly dedicated Kona Memorial Peace Garden at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Rialin Ventura takes a moment to read one of the "Clothesline Project" T-shirts Monday at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. The project features a variety of T-shirts designed and decorated by victims of crimes on the Big Island. The Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Unit-event kicked off National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which runs through Friday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Hawaii County staff place decorated rocks in the newly dedicated Kona Memorial Peace Garden on Monday. The garden also features a memorial to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sheri Lawson, who died in January. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • The "Clothesline Project," which features a variety of T-shirts designed and decorated by victims of crimes on the Big Island, was hung at the West Hawaii Civic Center on Monday. The Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Unit-event kicked off National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which runs through Friday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • The "Clothesline Project," which features a variety of T-shirts designed and decorated by victims of crimes on the Big Island, was hung at the West Hawaii Civic Center on Monday. The Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Unit-event kicked off National Crime Victims' Rights Week, which runs through Friday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Deborah Chai, a victim witness counselor with the Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, reflects on the life of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sheri Lawson, who died in January, as Restorative Justice Program Manager Tim Hansen looks on. A memorial honoring the late prosecutor is installed within the newly dedicated Kona Memorial Peace Garden at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • Janelle Sajor, left, and Rialin Ventura, right, view the “Clothesline Project” Monday at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. The project features a variety of T-shirts designed and decorated by victims of crimes on the Big Island. The Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Unit-event kicked off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which runs through Friday. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

The Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney kicked off National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Monday in Kailua-Kona.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is observed nationwide each April to remember crime victims and survivors and to honor those who support them. This year’s theme is “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.”

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“Crime doesn’t just affect the person it happens to — it affects the whole community,” Deborah Chai, a victim witness counselor with the Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, told a small crowd Monday at the West Hawaii Civic Center. “It affects the family members, their friends and the workers, and it has an affect that lasts a long time.”

Monday’s event featured a discussion about the various programs offered by the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, rock painting, a display of some of the many T-shirts created through the years for the “Clothesline Project” and a talk with Chris Anderson, a mother who lost her son, Hawaii Fire Department Capt. David Mahon, in a fatal traffic crash in May 2019. Closing out the event was the dedication of the new Kona Memorial Peace Garden in honor of homicide victims.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week continued Monday night with Gov. David Ige sharing a few words, followed by representatives of the state Department of Public Safety, Hawaii Paroling Authority and Crime Victim Compensation Commission speaking about victims’ rights and services in Hawaii. The evening closed with a virtual victim candle vigil featuring music and stories from survivors.

The week will wrap up Friday in Hilo at the Hilo Peace Garden, located outside the Prosecutor’s Office at the Aupuni Center. Informational booths and exhibits will be on display and the public will also have the opportunity to participate in decorating a memorial rock for the Hilo Peace Garden.

In conjunction with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, prosecutor’s offices in Hilo and Kona are collecting donations to be distributed to agencies that provide sexual assault and domestic violence services such as Child and Family Services and shelters for those escaping an abusive situation.

The most requested items are Clorox/Lysol wipes, toilet paper and paper towels and new twin sheet sets and pillow cases. Clothing is not needed.

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For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, visit www.PAVHawaii.com or contact the Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Unit at 934-3306 in Hilo and 324-1066 in Kona.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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