This year is the 40th anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week — commemorated this week, Sunday through Saturday, April 18-24.

This year’s theme is “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities.” The week is geared toward raising awareness of victims’ rights and services by highlighting programs, celebrating progress achieved and honoring victims and the professionals who serve them.

Advocacy groups in the Brainerd lakes area that assist victims include the Mid-Minnesota Women's Center, Crow Wing County Victim Services Inc., Sexual Assault Services Inc. and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. The Crow Wing County Attorney's Office has a victim service coordinator who connects victims with the appropriate victim advocacy agency in the county. The advocacy groups help the victims with various services, such as providing them information about the court process, which often can take about two years. They also provide support, counseling services and anything else victims might need.

Victim Services assists victims with advocacy and support in all the general crime areas, including assault, robbery, burglary, theft, homicide, elder abuse, driving while intoxicated, traffic offenses with a victim, arson, fraud and identity theft, criminal damage to property and bias motivated crimes.

Sexual Assault Services offers 24-7 services to people who have been sexually violated, as well as their friends and family. Advocates provide support during medical exams, court hearings and trials and any support they need. Advocates also help victims of sexual assault fill out orders for protection if needed.

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The nonprofit also has a support group and helps run the Crisis Line and Referral Services. The Crisis Line was established in 1988 in response to a significant number of teen suicides and suicidal attempts. Today, thousands of calls later, the number of calls has grown assisting people from all walks of life, its website stated. Its stated mission is to provide confidential and anonymous telephone support to people in distress and crisis and to serve as a lifeline for positive change by connecting clients to area resources and to give support and encouragement.

The crisis line serves six counties: Crow Wing, Cass, Aitkin, Morrison, Wadena and Todd.

Need help?

  • Mid-Minnesota Women's Center: 218-828-1216 or 888-777-1248 and midminwomenscenter.blogspot.com; and the Alex and Brandon Child Safety Center, 218-828-0022.

  • Crow Wing County Victim Services Inc.: 218-828-9518, info@CrimeVictimServices.net, CrimeVictimServices.net.

  • Sexual Assault Services Inc.: 218-828-0494 or 888-458-0494, sasmn.org.

  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota: hotline is 218-824-3770, regular phone 218-824-3777, lssmn.org.

  • Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office for Julie Charpentier at 218-824-1025.

  • Crisis Line: 218-828-4357 or 800-468-5525, office number is 218-828-4515, crisisln@uslink.net.

  • MADD: 877-623-3435 or madd.org.

  • To report a crime call the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office at 218-829-4749. In an emergency call 911.