Gov, AG highight crime victim's rights week

Apr 25, 2012

This week is Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi say it’s a time to recognize victims and the officers who protect them. Regan McCarthy has more.

Attorney General Pam Bondi says she knows as a prosecutor the impact that a crime has a victim’s life.

“Here’s what you don’t’ know. You only see the sterile environment of a court room, But what you don’t see is seasoned law enforcement officers crying, hugging children whose parents have been murdered. You don’t see victim’s advocates holding victims of rape. And what you don’t understand is it never ends for these victims.”

Bondi recognized the courage of several victims including Senate President Mike Haridpolos’s wife.  Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos.  She says, in a previous marriage, she was a victim of domestic violence, and thanks the governor for his efforts to crack down on domestic violence and touts the additional million dollars in recurring funds directed to domestic violence centers that the governor okayed as part of the state budget.

“One in three women in their lifetime are victims of domestic violence. It’s an unfortunate statistic, but its reality. And we hope to change that. The certified domestic violence centers here in Florida have not received an increase in funding for over a decade and you changed that.”

But not everyone is as enthusiastic about the governor’s decisions. Scott is taking a hit for vetoing $1.5 million earmarked for 30 rape crisis centers in the state. Scott says the funding was duplicative.

“We have money that goes into the rape crisis centers already. It was additional money that we had already funded.”

But, some argue the funding Scott is talking about is used for programs and outreach, not services.