Crime Victims' Rights Ceremony
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. April 23, 2013
This is crime victims’ rights week, and a special ceremony was held today at the state Justice Complex in Trenton.
Monmouth County resident Colleen Duffy was the victim of domestic violence.
She says she suffered a brain injury and a lot of bruises when she was attacked by her husband while photographing a child on the beach at a state park.
“That night as the adrenalin subsided and all the pain started I knew I had been seriously injured, but my first thought was to get to the courthouse and get a restraining order. The fear of my husband was stronger than taking care of my bodily injuries.”
Duffy says she was anxious and didn’t want to leave home for months after the attack. After getting counseling from a victims support group she‘s reclaimed her life and has a life-long restraining order against her attacker.
“I’ve come to realize victim does not mean weakness. Victim is a word to describe an unfortunate event or circumstance that has happened to a person. I have no shame using the word victim in my life because it’s his shame not mine.”
Nancy is an Ocean County resident who was the victim of financial fraud.
She says she gave her savings and pension to a financial advisor who used the money without her knowledge to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity loans on her home.
“There was no way to get the money from her because they could not find it. So I move out of that house. The Township wants to put me in jail if I don’t do anything with the house because Sandy had some problems with it.”
Authorities say the investment advisor is in prison and Nancy might be able to get her money back.
Thanks to the help she’s getting from a victims’ assistance group, she says she no longer feels like a victim.
Elie Honig is the director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
He says no matter what law enforcement does it won’t be able to give victims back everything that’s been taken from them.
“In my experience in all cases even if nobody can undo what’s been done, justice matters. It matters to the victims to know that somebody will listen to them, will make a case for them, and will do whatever we can to make it right.”
© 2013 WBGO News
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