Nara Crime Victims Support Center—Nara Prefecture’s first nongovernmental organization committed to providing psychological care and support for crime victims and their families—was formally launched at the founding meeting held on September 27 at Tenri University. This launch comes amid signs of rising public awareness and support of crime victims’ rights and services, this center being the 20th such organization to have been established in the country.
The proposal for establishing this organization was gathering momentum especially among legal and psychological circles when Tenri University, the only private university in Nara Prefecture to have a department of clinical psychology, was requested to join the endeavor to help crime victims. The university’s board of directors approved the request in September, thus paving the way for the official launch of the support center.
Tenri University President Taketa Hashimoto was appointed to the advisory board of this new center while Professor Haruyo Horio is on its steering committee.
The founding meeting was attended by some 30 people including doctors, lawyers, police officers, clinical psychologists, and others involved in social work. Nara University Professor Nagayoshi Fujikake, who is the president of Nara Prefecture’s Association of Clinical Psychologists, first addressed the meeting on behalf of those who had taken the initiative to work toward establishing the center. “In this country, the protection of crime victims’ rights has long been neglected, resulting in considerable suffering among them,” he said. “Those of us concerned in Nara Prefecture have been looking for a suitable location for a center to provide psychological care—which we believe is the most important aspect of any support for crime victims—and, thanks to the good offices of Tenri University, we have now been able to establish this center.”
Located in the city of Tenri, the center began providing services on October 1. Tenri University contributes clinical psychologists to support this center.