Kauai lit up to honor crime victims

LIHUE — County officials on Wednesday honored National Crime Victims’ Rights Week with a variety of events in Lihue intended to raise awareness and support for victims and survivors of crime.

Across Hawaii, each county marked the occasion, with lighting ceremonies and other events designed to highlight the week-long occasion.

The recognition comes as Marsy’s Law, the proposed crime victim bill of rights for victims of crime, continues its progress through the Legislature.

“Hawaii is one of only 18 states to not enshrine the rights of crime victims in its State Constitution; we hope that changes this year,” said Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.

If Marsy’s Law successfully clears the remaining legislative hurdles, it will appear on the election ballot this fall as a proposed amendment to the Hawaii Constitution.

The bill passed third reading in the Senate on Monday and will be heard in the House today.

The County Council presented a certificate to representatives from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Victim/Witness Program Director Diana Gausepohl-White, and Victim/Witness counselors Marla Torres-Lam and Storm Sasaki.

Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. also issued a proclamation to the group at the Lihue Civic Center in support of the event.

On Friday, the Council Services and Buildings Division illuminated the Historic County Building in purple lighting in honor of the victims’ rights movement.

The lighting coincided with President Barack Obama proclaiming this week to be National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

“We are grateful to our county leaders and to all the service providers in our office and in the wider community, including the YWCA and Malama Pono, who work so diligently to provide services to those who have been through traumatic events,” Kollar said. “The criminal justice system can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience; our goal is to make the experience as victim-centered, understandable and transparent as possible as we undertake our mission of seeking justice.”

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