State honors crime victims and those who help them

Trees planted to honor victims

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. - Behind every crime is a victim, but they often go unnoticed. The State of Tennessee is honoring victims this week and those who work with them on their cases through the court system. 

Crime often leaves voids in the lives of victims. "Honor those victims whether it's a child murdered, adult raped, or victims of property crime," says District Attorney General Barry Staubus. 

The State of Tennessee is planting eight trees across the state in special ceremonies to raise awareness about the victims of crimes. 

One tree was planted Thursday in front of the Sullivan County Child Advocacy Center. "To have this tree planted and me be the recipient it's the biggest honor of my life, to me it shows this tree will grow, victims can heal, they need nurturing just like this tree needs nurturing," says Amy Whitt-Bachman, who was honored with the Voices of Victim's Award by the Tennessee Board of Parole and the Department of Corrections. 

Every year, Whitt-Bachman talks with more than 300 of Sullivan County's youngest crime victims about what they've been through her job at the Child Advocacy Center.  "It's just a passion of mine. if I can help one child them my career is worth it," says Whitt-Bachman. 

Defendants often grab the headlines with the charges they face and trips to court, but prosecutors say it's their victims the community cannot forget. "Often victims are behind the scenes but they are at the center of what we do, we are there because behind every crime there is a victim," says Staubus.    

Thursday's event is one of eight tree planting ceremonies in communities across Tennessee this week. 

Four dozen trees have been planted honoring victims since the program started a couple of years ago.

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