New CJ group focuses on victims’ rights

Crime Victims Services Alliance, a special interest group, was founded about a month ago in the criminal justice department to educate people on victims’ rights, and discuss career opportunities for anyone interested in working with victims.

Cindy Lindquist, president of CVSA, said she wanted to start the group so people would take a closer look at the rights of victims. Lindquist is also a student at Sam Houston State University, working on a degree in victims’ studies.

“I moved here from New York because I heard about the (criminal justice) program, and I sat down with our now advisor, Stephanie Frogge, and we decided it would be a good idea to start a group like this because it is very important for people to pay attention to victims’ rights,” Lindquist said.

Stephanie Frogge, advisor for CVSA, said it was time for the campus to have a group which targeted victim rights issues.

“It really came about as an interest from Cindy Lindquist, and it is her belief, and mine as well, that there are a lot of students on campus – especially with the really large criminal justice program we have – and there would be people interested in the criminal justice equation,” SHSU has the only bachelor’s degree in victims’ studies in the United States.

SHSU is settled in the heart of the criminal justice system, with nine prison units in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Huntsville region.

“This part of Texas concentrates so much on bringing convicts to justice with the prison system, so we thought it would be a good idea to see if we could get a group together to talk about different professions that would be involved with victims and working with victims’ rights,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist said the group would have a speaker come to talk about their experience as a victim.

“(Last night we had) someone from the SAAFE House come to talk to us, and the next meeting after this, we are having a speaker whose daughter was murdered come and talk to us,” she said.

SAAFE House, an acronym for Sexual Assault and Abuse Free Environment, was founded in 1984 as Walker County Family Violence Council to provide help, shelter and support to victims of family violence.

In 1989, SAAFE House started offering services for sexual assault survivors; therefore, the name was changed to SAAFE House.

The Web site for SAAFE House said its goal is to help victims of family violence and sexual assault obtain the necessary skills to live abuse free, and help families find non-violent ways of coping with stresses that might lead to abuse.

Lindquist said CVSA would be attending conferences on victim’s rights throughout the year.

“There are a couple of conferences in League City (Texas) we will be attending in April, and we are basically going to be talking with victims right now,” she said. “We are going to have victims come to talk with us about their experiences as victims, and discuss what kind of jobs there are for people who are interested in working with victims.”

This group is open to anyone interested in finding a career related to this field or leaning more about special services for victims and their rights.

“I think (CVSA) is really important and I hope that it will become something big on the campus and in the community,” she said.

CVSA meets every third Wednesday of the month in the Criminal Justice Center at the alumni room.

The group will next meet on March 26 to host a guest speaker from the psychology department who met with one of her daughter’s murderers in prison.

Frogge said the National Victims Rights Week is May 6 -13 and CVSA is planning to organize an event or program for that week.

For more information, contact the group’s president Cindy Lindquist at or advisor Stephanie Frogge at 294-4174.

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