New Hampshire's 13 Crisis Centers Endorse CACR 22, Marsy's Law
NEW HAMPSHIRE’S 13 CRISIS CENTERS ENDORSE CACR 22, MARSY’S LAW
Victim Advocates from Across NH Announce Support for Constitutional
Amendment for Crime Victims’ Rights in New Hampshire
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amanda Grady Sexton (603) 548-9377
CONCORD – Today, New Hampshire’s 13 domestic and sexual violence crisis centers announced their support for Marsy’s Law for New Hampshire, a constitutional amendment that would provide meaningful and enforceable rights within the criminal justice system, under the state constitution. In 2016, New Hampshire’s 13 crisis centers provided support services to nearly 14,000 Granite Staters who were victims of violent crimes in our state.
“Last year alone, our crisis center advocates served nearly 2,400 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child sexual abuse in our community. The survivors that we work with have been through unspeakable trauma and devastating loss,” said Dawn Ream, Executive Director of Bridges, New Hampshire’s Nashua-based crisis center. “When crime victims in New Hampshire make the courageous decision to come forward, they are facing a criminal justice system that is stacked against them, and they are not guaranteed the basic rights and protections they need and deserve. The only way to right this wrong is by providing them with enforceable constitutional rights.”
“No one ever asks to become a victim of a violent crime. Yet, when victims in New Hampshire are thrust into the criminal justice system they do not have enforceable rights that are on par with the rights afforded to their perpetrators,” said Kathy Beebe, Executive Director of HAVEN, the New Hampshire crisis center serving victims in Strafford and Rockingham Counties. “Victims of all crimes deserve equal rights within the criminal justice system so they have a voice in the process and are not left on the outside of the system looking in. Victims and survivors of crime in New Hampshire need Marsy’s Law.”
“In small, rural towns like the ones we serve, victims of crime face added barriers when deciding whether or not to come forward. By passing Marsy’s Law for New Hampshire, we will ensure that a victim’s safety is taken into consideration when the criminal is being let out on parole, that they are notified of the release or escape of their perpetrator, and they have standing to be heard in court,” said Deborah Haynes-Kenney, Executive Director of Response Domestic and Sexual Violence Support Center, the crisis center responding to Coos County. “Victims of crime deserve these basic rights and until we enshrine these rights in the constitution, victims will continue to not report their experiences and public safety will be at risk.”
“New Hampshire is one of only 15 states that does not offer crime victims basic rights under their state constitutions. Victims of crime deserve basic rights that can be weighed equally along with the rights afforded to defendants to make sure that our criminal justice system is truly fair and just,” said Paula Kelley-Wall, Executive Director of the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire, the crisis center serving victims in Merrimack County. “We are proud to join the broad coalition of supporters that are standing with victims of crime by advocating for CACR 22, Marsy’s Law. We urge the New Hampshire Legislature to take the time to talk with survivors and advocates in their districts and learn more about the need for change in our current criminal justice system.”
“The staff and volunteers at crisis centers across the Granite State work tirelessly on behalf of victims of crime every day and we’re grateful for all they do to support the most vulnerable in our state,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and State Director for Marsy’s Law for New Hampshire. “Victim advocates in New Hampshire have been working since the early 90’s to lay the foundation for a constitutional amendment for victims’ rights, and we are proud to work alongside our 13 crisis centers to realize that goal by passing CACR 22, Marsy’s Law.”
About Marsy’s Law for New Hampshire: Marsy’s Law for New Hampshire represents two decades of advocates’ work to establish enforceable rights for victims of crime. In coordination with the NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Marsy’s Law for NH is a broad coalition of Granite Staters working to ensure that victims of crime in our state are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect and are provided with enforceable constitutional rights.
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