The VAP National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Luncheon April 5 brought 120 people, including staff, to Portage Country Club.
VAP Board Vice-President Jennifer LeFleur opened the luncheon, with help from the Akron Police Department Color Guard, and introduced Board member Rev. Richard McCandless, who provided the invocation.
VAP Executive Director Leanne Graham introduced the keynote speaker, David Voth.
Mr. Voth,, executive director of Crime Victim Services in Allen and Putnam counties, spoke of the need for Marsy’s Law, which would include crime victims’ rights in the Ohio Constitution. Members of the campaign for Marsy’s Law for Ohio are gathering the 305,591 signatures needed by July 5 to put the proposed constitutional amendment on the November Ballot, Mr. Voth said.
“We believe that victim rights must be meaningful with the same importance as defendants’ due process rights,” Mr. Voth said, adding that those rights would not usurp defendants’ rights. For example, victims should have the right to object to trial delays, but they couldn’t control the speed of hearings and decisions.
“Reducing victim trauma is a value,” Mr. Voth said. “There must be a balance that includes the victim’s voice, but not a veto.”
After Mr. Voth spoke, Director Graham announced Ohio Rep. Emilia Sykes as the recipient of the Rev. Dr. Robert Denton Outstanding Victim Service Award. Rep. Sykes was not able to attend the luncheon.