The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute on Thursday launched an attempt to connect victims of a violent crime to support and service.
By visiting HopeAndHelpIN.org, Indiana crime victims and survivors can find resources on a variety of topics ranging from domestic violence and sexual assault to human trafficking.
The website also contains information about programs that provide direct assistance to victims, such as the Indiana Violent Crime Victim Compensation Program and the state’s sexual assault tracking system.
“Crime victims and their families can find it difficult to know who to contact,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “You may be in physical and emotional pain, have financial difficulties, or want legal action. Although everyone’s path to recovery is different, this endeavor is about helping survivors on their journey and letting them know that help is available. ”One goal is to raise awareness about the victim compensation program, victims or their relatives who have suffered bodily harm, reimbursed them for certain costs incurred as a result of violent crime. These costs can include medical bills, lost wages, or loss of child benefit. In 2020, in the Vigo district, CJI handled more than 58 violent and sexual assault lawsuits and distributed more than $ 135,000 to victims.
CJI has a working relationship with the Domestic Violence Council in Terre Haute. The Vigo County Attorney’s Office also runs a victim advocacy program.
Subject to certain eligibility requirements, eligible beneficiaries may receive a reimbursement of up to $ 15,000. An additional $ 5,000 can be used to cover funeral and funeral expenses.
“Last year we handled more than 3,000 violent and sexual assault lawsuits and distributed more than $ 7.5 million nationwide,” said Nolan Jenkins, ICJI Victim Compensation Program Director. “Unfortunately there are still people in Indiana who don’t know the program exists, and we’re working on it.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, 1.2 million people were victims of violent crimes (excluding simple assault) in 2019. While this is the latest data available and the numbers are down from 2018, it is difficult to know the true number of crime victims in the state and nation as many incidents go unreported each year.
“Violent crime affects far too many families each year,” said Kim Lambert, ICJI Victim Services Division Director. “Although nobody has to experience this, access to reliable resources is crucial, especially in times of crisis. Our goal is to make it easier for these people to find the support they need. “
To learn more, visit HopeAndHelpIN.org.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) is the state planning agency for criminal law, juvenile justice, road safety, and victim assistance. The institute develops long-term strategies for effectively managing the Indiana criminal and juvenile justice system and administers state and federal funds to implement these strategies.
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