Jack Walker Published

Crime Survivors, Advocates Honored With Ceremony

A man in a suit stands at a podium, facing rows of people sitting in chairs. A stained glass window is beside him on one side, and the American and West Virginia flags stand behind him. He is speaking into a microphone.
U.S. Attorney Will Thompson speaks to survivors of crimes and their advocates at a ceremony in Charleston Thursday.
Lawrence Messina/U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia

Survivors of crimes and their advocates gathered Thursday morning for a ceremony at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse in Charleston.

Held days before the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the annual event aims to raise awareness about victims’ rights and grant recognition to the daily resilience of crime survivors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and Operation Reach Out organized the event. U.S. Attorney Will Thompson honored survivors and those who support them.

“We see the trauma and the lifelong journey of dealing with the tremendous grief and loss,” Thompson said. “We also get to see the strength and tenacity of survivors and families.”

All five current justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia — Chief Justice Tim Armstead, Justice Beth Walker, Justice John Hutchison, Justice William Wooton and Justice Haley Bunn — attended Thursday’s ceremony.

During the ceremony, Thompson also presented awards to advocacy groups across the state for their work supporting survivors.

“I look out here, and I see a lot of people representing different roles. I see people who [have] been working with victims for their professional career. Perhaps more importantly, I see victims and I see survivors,” he said. “Take a moment, think about them. I think it shows remarkable strength and courage for the surviving families to come out today.”

Thompson presented awards for excellence in victim advocacy and justice to the following recipients:

  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
  • Mission West Virginia
  • YWCA Charleston
  • An investigative team from Mercer County, which included representatives from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Child Protect of Mercer County and the West Virginia Department of Human Services

For more information about national Crime Victims’ Rights Week, visit the United States Office for Victims of Crime’s website.