Every year in April the country honors victims of crime and those who advocate on their behalf. Here in Michiana, the Family Justice Center partnered with the St. Joseph Co. Prosecutor's Office to observe national Crime Victim's Rights Week.
Through several events held throughout the week, the groups focused on different parts of the population that are vulnerable to violence, including children.
Local children created artwork depicting their views in crime and victims in the local community. .
“Some of them expressed feelings of sympathy for other people, feeling sad or scared or upset or worried. It's just amazing picturing that coming from an 8-year-old. That they are that aware of how crime affects them and wanting to do something about it,” said Sareen Dale, Director of Family Justice Center of St. Joseph.
Director of St. Joseph County’s victim services, Lucette Higgins added, “Everything that we know about children who grow up in a violent home says that they are more likely to use drugs, attempt suicide, be sexually active at an earlier age, join a gang or end up incarcerated, so that's the reason that reaching children and addressing the issues of domestic violence is so important, so that we can stop that.”
The art, made by kids at the Charles Martin Youth Center and the La Casa de Amistad Community Center in South Bend, now hangs on the walls of the Family Justice Center’s lobby.