WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, advocating for victims of violence, abuse or a crime.
This year, local victims are celebrating the theme, “Honoring Our Past, Creating Hope for the Future."
Palm Beach County's Victims' Rights Coalition is hosting a week of workshops, ceremonies and events to promote awareness of the services offered to people in need.
The coalition kicked off the week with a ceremony Monday morning at the West Palm Beach Police Department.
Speakers included U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, newly-elected mayor Keith James and Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.
Victims advocates also gave recognition and awards to local officers of the year for their work helping abuse victims.
Victims of crime also shared their stories of survival, including Jacquelyn Jamason, whose daughter Elliana was drowned to death by her wife, Kimberly Lucas, in 2014. Jamason's teenage son was also poisoned with medication but survived.
"I dropped to my knees, paralyzed by the words, 'Your baby is dead,'" she shared during a speech on Monday. "This was a defining moment in time for me because when you bring a child into the world, you never expect to say goodbye to them, too."
The story made headlines in the years following the murder. Lucas was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the crime.
"My daughter Elliana, forever 2-years old, and the victim of a first-degree pre-meditated murder by the hands of her other parent -- now serving a life sentence."
Jamason credited the community, friends, family, and the services offered by agencies in Palm Beach County for helping through the pain of losing a child to crime.
"Enduring this loss has taught me that I have the ability and resilience to push through just about anything in front of me," she said.
The week continues with more special events planned across Palm Beach County.
Tuesday, April 9
“Darkness to Light: End Child Sexual Abuse” training at CILO, West Palm Beach, 6 - 8:30 p.m.
Contact Brandy Macaluso, 561-966-4288, ext. 200
RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) overview by Delray Beach Police Department, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., at 2350 Seacrest Blvd., Delray Beach. This presentation is for women only. Class is limited to 50 women.
Contact Dawn Terrizzi, 561-243-7850
Wednesday, April 10
PBC Victim Services & Survivor Action Team “What Were You Wearing?” art exhibit at Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth Campus, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Contact Sharon Daugherty, 561-625-2526
Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches “Red Cross Response to Mass Casualties & Natural Disasters: Human Trafficking Edition” at Mounts Auditorium, 531 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, 10 a.m.–noon.
Contact Tanya Meade, 561-966-4288, ext. 106
Thursday, April 11
PBC Victim Services “Ceremony in the Garden” honoring all crime victims. 8:30 -11:30 a.m. Mounts Botanical Garden & Clayton Hutcheson Agricultural Center, 559 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach.
Contact Ellen Craddock-Day, 561-274-1500
Friday, April 12
39th annual Crime Victims’ Rights Week Awards Luncheon at Embassy Suites, 1601 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Speakers: Karen Hansen and Laura Rachlin.
Contact Coleen LaCosta, 561-408-7779
Saturday, April 13
State Attorney’s 8th annual Walk for Victims’ Rights, “Giving Crime Victims a Voice,” at Palm Beach Shores Community Center, 90 Edwards Lane, 8 a.m.
Contact Annette Andre, 561-355-7424