PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - As a full week of hopeful events begins, the rights of those who suffer physical, emotional and financial loss at the hands of others are being highlighted.
The National Crime Victim's Rights Week is April 21-27. The year's theme: New Challenges, New Solutions.
At an opening ceremony at the West Palm Beach Police Department, speakers shared thoughts about the importance of victims' rights advocates. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Aurora theater shooting, several speakers talked about the issues faced with large-scale emergencies.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said it is important to remember the names of victims over those who hurt them. He read the names of the victims in Boston.
Detective Sergeant Gregory Key is with the West Palm Beach Police Department. He lost his own 19-year-old daughter Lindsay when she was murdered. He told the audience that he used to tell her that she was "the most beautiful girl in the world."
Key had been in law enforcement for years prior to the crime. He says the experience as a victim changed how he speaks with others.
"I listen a lot more," he said.
Key shared his difficult experience with the room of attentive law enforcement officers, lawmakers, leaders and media, instructing them to avoid to commonly misused phrases. He says it does a victim and an advocate a disservice when somebody says, "I know how you feel," or "now you have closure." Instead, he said, the best friends are those who stay close when one is grieving.
As for victims, he tells them to fight.
"And I understand crying and being sad, but you have to stand up for yourself. If you're a victim, you have to go after prosecution with your whole heart and don't give up," he said.