Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System (HRHS) will join community organizations during the week of April 18-24 in support and observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The annual observance was established in 1981 and has grown to include communities from throughout the nation.
This year’s theme—”Support Victims, Build Trust. Engage Communities” emphasizes the importance of the need to build community support to help victims of crime.
Katherine Drake Schmitt, Acting Director for the United States Department of Justice, said the COVID-19 Pandemic multiplied the problem. “Victims were often isolated from family, friends, and support systems, and victim service providers grappled with strained resources and formidable barriers to victim outreach and care,” Schmitt said.
Amanda Hullet, Chief Nursing Officer for HRHS, said sexual assault and violence are not comfortable topics for people to discuss and services in the community can be well kept secrets until you know someone needs assistance. “Hutchinson is fortunate to have resources to help support victims and survivors of violence,” Hullet said. “Hutchinson Regional Medical Center and Horizons Child Advocacy Center, a department of the Horizons Mental Health Center, both entities of HRHS, work closely with the police and sheriff’s department, the District Attorney’s Office and Brighthouse to find ways to serve victims of violence and abuse. Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System is pleased to be a part of this incredible team.”
Hullet said Hutchinson Regional is increasing its efforts to assist in the fight against sexual assault and violence. Six Hutchinson Regional nurses are undergoing training for certification in the medical forensic care of patients who have experienced sexual assault and abuse.
“By Hutchinson Regional increasing our commitment to this problem and by coordinating with local agencies, it our hope that this teamwork will produce opportunities to benefit our community,” Hullet said.
The Reno County District Attorney’s office is sponsoring a Community Candle Lighting Ceremony scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday April 22 at the South Hutchinson Community Center at 101 West Avenue C in South Hutchinson. Event organizers label the event as a time to come together to remember loved ones lost to or affected by violence. Speakers include Reno County District Attorney Thomas Stanton; Jody Bryant, Victim Witness Coordinator, and Detective Diana Skomal of the Reno County Sheriff’s Department. The event concludes with a lighting of candles by Nikki Burkhart with Brighthouse.
The event is free and open to the public.