GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – It is Crime Advocacy Awareness Month and Battle Creek Community Foundation and The Battle Creek Police Department [BCPD] have launched a program to help meet the immediate needs of victims of violent crime in their community.
Aleena Robinson works as the Victim Advocate for the Battle Creek Community Foundation and BCPD. She meets with the victims immediately following the crime, whether that be in their home or at the hospital Robinson is the victim’s advocate throughout the process. Robinson connects victims to resources, community member and helps them through the court and legal processes.
The Battle Creek Community foundation and BCPD have been working for three years to receive the grant they needed in order to fund this much needed Victim Advocate position in their community. The victim advocate role is unique in that this position works with the help of the community, but is also very systems based. Robinson is based in the police department so that she is able to directly work with law enforcement and be immediately available to the victims when needed.
National Crime Victim Rights Week runs from April 18 – April 24. This nationally celebrated week acts as a platform for victims of crime to speak out. It gives them the space to share their experience and gain the support that they need to facilitate community healing. This week is designed to bring community awareness and conversation to the violent crimes and the induvial that these crimes are effecting.
This year’s National Crime Victim Rights Week theme is ‘Support victims. Build trust. Engage community.’ This theme is depicted by the colors pink, yellow and purple which are represented nationally on flyers, posters and ribbons in support of National Crime Victim Rights Week.
Just over a year ago the BCPD was able to provide very little for the victims of violent crimes. Policing has always been the first wave of support for victim advocacy but the BCPD did not think that was enough for the victims in their community. Bringing Robinson onto the team helped to change lives and support the victims in their community.
Robinson encourages her victims to understand that healing is not a linear process. Somedays are better than others, but the community is always there to help and continue the conversation of victim advocacy.