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Crime Victims’ Rights Event

May 10, 2023

By Brendan Baptiste Communications Office
image of Nancy Stoops

Nan Stoops Strategic Advisor, WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (Photo from TVW).

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) is held during the week of April 23-29. Since 1981 (NCVRW) has issued a challenge to our Nation to confront and remove all barriers for victims of crime who are seeking justice. The special week is used to celebrate the accomplishments of victims’ rights and to reflect on the success of the movement thus far.

This year’s theme – Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change. – calls upon communities to amplify the voices of survivors and commit to creating an environment where survivors have the confidence that they will be heard, believed and supported.

On Tuesday, April 25th, a National Crime Victims’ Rights Week event was held at the Labor and Industries Auditorium in Tumwater. Due to limited seating, this year’s event was broadcasted on YouTubeto provide easier access to all. The multi-platform media conduit Television Washinton (TVW), known for providing access to current and historical digital resources as it pertains to Washington state government, also committed to broadcasting the event on their website.

The event would allow the voices from those affected by crime to share their stories and to educate the community on issues victims of crime face. The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy would also announce the recipient of the Nancy Hawley Lifetime Services Award.

Nancy Hawley Award was named after the longtime advocate of crime victims’ rights. Nancy started her career working with youth at the Deaconess Children’s Service Teen Parent Program and would then move to the first team of Community Victim Liaisons at the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) in 2002. After leaving the DOC she would direct Victims Support Services program. Nancy has since passed on, but her legacy is still felt throughout Washington State. This award acknowledges individuals for their hard lifetime work towards affecting change for crime victims.

“This award was created to acknowledge that advocacy is vital to our communities, to our families and to individuals for their wellbeing.” Says Rick Torrance.

This year’s recipient of the award and keynote speaker for event was Nan Stoops, Strategic Advisor, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For over 40 years, Nan has worked in the anti-violence movement as an advocate, trainer and organizer. She currently serves as the strategic advisor for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Having served on boards for numerous boards and advisory groups, Nan’s work has been greatly appreciated and she is well deserving of such a prestigious award.

To provide a voice for the victims of crime, Twyla Cunha was called to address the audience. Before stepping on stage, a video of her story was shared. Twyla’s son Michael was severely injured in a car crash in 2015 after riding home with a co-worker who had drugs and alcohol in his system. Michael survived the wreck, but his injuries would change his life forever. Michael has since passed away, but his story lives on through Twyla and her husband Rick.

With the help of Stanley Philips, Community Liaison from the DOC, Twyla would share the pain that their family went through after the accident. The voices from victims of crime are often overlooked. Her words would help bring attention to this issue and provide comfort to others as they are not alone.

“You have to keep fighting. You have to have hope. You have to keep going. Be their voices.” Says Twyla.

Rick Torrance would close the event by saying “We all have an obligation to amplify the voices of survivors, and create environments where survivors have the confidence and the resources they need to be heard, believed and supported.”