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City of Laurel recognizes, supports victims of violent crimes

This spring provided several opportunities for the City of Laurel to recognize and provide support for the victims of violent crimes- no matter their age.

April is nationally known as child abuse prevention month. To recognize the importance of this occasion and to welcome the area’s new Children’s Advocacy Center, Cherished Hearts, to the City Beautiful, Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee met with representatives from Cherished Hearts to discuss the purpose and importance of children’s advocacy centers and to declare the month as Child Abuse Awareness month throughout the city. Later that week, members of the Cherished Hearts organization held their first pinwheel garden ceremony at their new center in honor of all those whose lives have been affected by abuse.

The proclamation read as follows:

WHEREAS, every child deserves to grow up in a safe, nurturing environment free from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect; and

WHEREAS, child maltreatment is a serious public health issue with lingering effects long after a traumatic incident; and

WHEREAS, child abuse and neglect prevention and reduction strategies include strengthening and supporting Mississippi families, providing social, legal, and financial resources for both child victims and their families, and pursuing aggressive criminal justice activity; and

WHEREAS, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi™ provide hope, healing, and justice for children experiencing felonious child maltreatment; and

WHEREAS, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi seeks to ensure that every child

in Mississippi has the permanent family they need and deserve to nurture and support them to adulthood and is committed to safeguard children and promote efficient systematic response to the needs of children and families in the state of Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, raising public awareness and promoting child abuse prevention efforts offers safety for ALL Mississippi children

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, do hereby proclaim that the entire month of April 2024 shall be observed as Child Abuse Awareness Month in Laurel, Mississippi, and do hereby call on all citizens, organizations, and all levels of government to collectively join the fight to end child abuse and to protect Mississippi’s children.

In witness, thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel, Mississippi to be affixed this the 3rd day of April, A.D. 2024.

At the end of the month, on April 22, 2024, Mayor Magee met with representatives from the Laurel Police Department, the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter (DAFS) and victims, survivors, and supportive members of the community to proclaim the week of April 22-28 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in the city of Laurel.

More information about DAFS can be found at the link below:


The proclamation read as follows:

Whereas, being a victim of crime and navigating the criminal justice system can be a frightening and confusing experience;

Whereas, progress in improving the treatment of crime victims has been made though the efforts of thousands of victims and survivors who have turned their own experiences into a force for positive change, ensuring that others can receive justice, meaningful assistance, and compassionate treatment before the law;

Whereas, since the passage to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, and through the dedicated work of advocates, lawmakers, and victim service providers, there is a growing array of services and resources available to victims and their loved ones;

Whereas, honoring the rights of victims- including the rights to be heard and to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect- and working to meet their needs rebuilds their trust in the criminal justice and social service systems;

Whereas, individuals’ trust in the compassion, understanding, and support of their communities is achieved through sustained, deep-rooted, and coordinated outreach;

Whereas, identifying, reaching, and serving all victims of crime- especially those from groups that often have less access to healing services and avenues to justice- is essential;

Whereas, our community’s continued engagement with the challenges faced by victims of crime will ensure that the progress made to date is not lost, and that new ground is broken to gain greater justice and healing for all victims.

Whereas, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an opportunity to recommit ensuring that accessible, appropriate, and trauma-informed services are offered to all victims of crime; and

Whereas, The City of Laurel and Jones County advocates are hereby dedicated to supporting victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime, building trust among our clients, collaborating with other service providers, and engaging our community in response efforts.

Now, therefore, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, do hereby proclaim the week of April 22-28 2024, as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in the City of Laurel, reaffirming our commitment to creating a victim service and criminal justice response that assists all victims of crime during Crime Victims’ Rights Week and throughout the year; and expressing our sincere gratitude and appreciation for those community members, victim service providers, and criminal justice professionals who are committed to improving our response to all victims of crime so that they may find relevant assistance, support, justice, and peace.

In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Laurel, Mississippi to be affixed this the 22nd day of April, 2024.

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