Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates

Strengthening crime victim rights and improving victim services

Washington Crime Victim Action Center

The Washington Crime Victim Action Center is a place for interested persons to keep informed of issues in the legislature or in the state that affect crime victim rights, services, or concerns.  If you would like to stay informed on issues, you can find this information here!

 Moratorium on Capital Punishment

Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates - Statement

In light of Governor Inslee’s recent decision to suspend the death penalty in Washington State, the concern of the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates (WCCVA) is not whether or not capital punishment is an acceptable form of punishment, but rather the impact the Governor's decision could have on victims, family members, and crime victim advocates.


 Crime victim advocates support victims of personal tragedies and trauma, through an innate understanding of potential consequences for offenders.  The concern with Governor Inslee’s decision to suspend the death penalty is that for many victims, being able to predict and prepare for life after the crime is a cornerstone of their recovery process. Regardless of a victims’ personal feelings on capital punishment, having the ability to incorporate the legal consequences can provide closure and meaning to the legal process.


 Victims hope that justice for crimes committed against them, will be served. Co-survivors of homicide victims often must hope that justice for their loved ones will prevail, while navigating a criminal justice system that can often add anxiety, depression, and further trauma to the pain they have sustained. The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates knows that many victims may not always be contented with the court’s decision, but justice is considered “served” when the courts deliver their ruling. It is within these contexts that victims, advocates, and our legal colleagues must make sense of systems and accept the outcome, or pursue further actions available to them.


The Governor's decision to suspend the death penalty creates disruption for crime victims and the legal process, and may inadvertently re-victimize the co-survivors of homicide victims whose killers are currently on death row.  Washington State has decided that capital punishment is a legal form of punishment for those who have chosen to commit certain egregious crimes.  It is not our decision, as a coalition for crime victim advocates, to maintain whether the death penalty is an appropriate form of punishment.  We encourage advocates and victims to pursue and create change within the systems that exist. Just as Governor Inslee may feel that the system surrounding capital punishment is fallible, we maintain concerns that one person, alone, may choose to make a decision to counteract the laws and criminal justice system now in place.


The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates and its member agencies, consisting of advocates and victims from throughout Washington State, have worked to create and improve laws and rights for victims of crime since the early 1980’s. If there are laws that must be changed or amended, we believe the best avenue to do this is through the comprehensive legislative process. We hope that moving forward, there will be a seat at the table for victims and advocates to voice their concerns when major changes are made to the process and to the system we all work within. The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates is  happy to serve as a resource to the Governor's Office and others as issues regarding crime victims are discussed and decisions are made. 

 

 Let us not forget that victims will live with a life sentence. For homicide co-survivors, they are forever sentenced to live on without their loved one.  We share Governor Inslee's hope that one day there will be equal justice afforded under the law. However, it is the hope of the Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates’ that equal justice under the law will mean that laws are weighted and considered just as carefully for victims as they are for the offenders who choose to perpetrate the crimes for which they are sentenced.


In response to the Governor's decision, Senate Bill 6566 has been introduced by State Senator Steve O'Ban. The proposed bill would enforce the idea that families of the victims need to be heard before any decision is made on whether to go ahead with an execution. Families came from around the state came to Olympia to testify on the bill Wednesday. When discussing the merits of the bill, O'Ban said, "There can be no justice if the voices of the victims are not heard."

 If you would like to share your thoughts on the Governor's decision to place a moratorium on all executions, or if you would like to provide comments on the proposed legislation, please contact WCCVA's Executive Director, Cody Benson at cody@wccva.org. Ms. Benson is working with the Governor's Office and the sponsor of the prosed legislation and she will provide them with comments shared by victims and co-survivors.

 If you would like more information on the bill, have questions about the Governor's decision, or would like to learn more about the legislative process, please contact WCCVA staff at (360) 456-3858. Please CLICK HERE for a short video update on SB 6566.  You may also visit the WCCVA Public Policy Action Center at  for links to news articles and additional resources.

In solidarity.

Cody Benson
Executive Director
Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates

On  TVW's  ‘Legislative Review:’ Death penalty hearing

BREAKING NEWS!

By Christina Salerno | February 27, 2014

On Wednesday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” several family members of murder victims testified at a Senate committee on a bill that would require death penalty cases to go through the state Clemency and Pardons Board process before the governor could issue a reprieve. It was brought in response to Gov. Jay Inslee‘s moratorium on executions while he’s governor.

We also have details on the supplemental budget proposal from House Democrats, as well as public testimony on the Senate’s supplemental budget proposal.

Moratorium on Capital Punishment

BREAKING NEWS LINKS

Governor Inslee's Press Conference on Death Penalty Moratorium

BREAKING NEWS! (4/6/2013)


Washington State Senate Approves Proposed 2013-2015 Operating Budget

NO Direct Cuts to Crime Victim Service or Victim Witness Programs

As budget negotiations continue and tough decisions are made, legislators look to YOU for information and education. 


Contact your legislators and tell them what your CBSC program does to assist victims in your community!

Video: Watch Senate Floor Debate on the proposed 2013-2015 Operating Budget

BREAKING NEWS! 


Washington State Senate released it's proposed 2013 - 2015 Operating Budget

We are happy to report that there were NO direct reductions to state funding for CVSC or victim witness programs. 

Please contact the Senate Ways and Means Committee Members and thank them for preserving funding for Crime Victim Services. 

Remember, we are only partially through the process. As budget negotiations continue, it is imperative that legislators have the information they need to make informed decisions. 

Contact your legislators and tell them what your CVSC program does to assist victims in your community!

Video: Senate Ways and Means Committee Approves Budget (4/4/2013):
 Video: Proposed Senate Budget Press Conference

Victims' Rights Amendment

BREAKING NEWS!


The bi-partisan Victims Rights Amendment will be formaly introduced on April 25


Sponsors of the bill tentatively plan on holding a press conference in the morning of April 25th to announce the introduction of the bill. The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, chaired by Rep. Frank, will then conduct a public hearing on the proposal that afternoon.


The text of this year's amendment is similar to the previous version (H.J.R. 106).

Contact your Members of Congress and ask them to sign on as co-sponsors!

Video: Watch the Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) video on why we need a Victims' Rights Constitutional Amendment

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)



UPDATE: Reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act has passed!


It is on it's way to the President's desk for a signature!




Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes the Reauthorization of Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) has passed! FIVE HUNDRED DAYS after expiring! It is on it's way to the President's desk for signing!

Thanks to everyone who made calls and sent emails! Your advocacy efforts created real change in public policy! 

A huge congratulations to our sister coalitions WSCADV and WCSAP and WCCVA member WARN who are all leaders in the movement! Your hard work and dedication are second to none!  


Please call your Senators and Representatives and thank them for their support!


Contact Senators Cantwell and Murray, they were both leaders in advancing reauthorization of the VAWA:

Senator Patty Murray (202) 224-2621

Senator Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441


If you have questions or would like additional information on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), please contact us!



Violence Against Women Act 2012  Social Media Campaign

Staff Contact

Executive Director

Cody L. Benson

 

Crime Victim Rights Enforcement & Improvement Project

We are currently assembling a task force to evaluate the gaps in crime victim rights and the ability to enforce those rights in Washington State.  If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact us.


Find Your Congressman

Find Your U.S. Senator

Find Your State Legislator

2014 Legislative Agenda

2014 Bill Tracking Report