JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey will be the keynote speaker at the State of Missouri observation of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on April 27 at the Missouri Capitol. The event is hosted by the Missouri Department of Public Safety Office for Victims of Crime and includes displays, information and representatives of victim service organizations. It will be held on at noon on the south steps of the Capitol.
Governor Mike Parson has proclaimed this week, April 23-29 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Missouri, which coincides with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
“My years in law enforcement gave me a personal understanding of the impact of crime on victims and our communities,” Governor Mike Parson said. “That’s why, years ago, we helped start a full-service center for victims of domestic violence in Polk County, and we continue to find inspiration in the strength and determination of crime victims and their advocates who fight to expand their rights and protections. We will continue to support victims through programs to compensate victims, protect domestic violence survivors, and provide essential services.”
“The Department of Public Safety wants crime victims to know that we have many resources to help support them and team members who devote their careers to helping individuals directly,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “Additionally, we work closely with many organizations that assist victims, and work to help reduce crime in Missouri by providing resources to law enforcement and victims whose testimony is critical in violent crime cases.”
Among the DPS Office for Victims of Crime’s responsibilities are administering Missouri’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, the Sexual Assault and Child Physical Abuse Forensic Examination programs
and the Missouri Victim Automated Notification System (MOVANS).
- The Missouri Crime Victims’ Compensationprogram helps pay crime victims’ out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical, mental health/counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages. In the last five years, it has processed over 8,500 applications and awarded more than $25 million to victims and family members who were victims of crimes involving violence or the threat of violence;
- The Sexual Assault and Child Physical Abuse Forensic Examinationprograms have processed over 26,000 claims from service providers totaling over $16 million dollars in the last five years;
- MOVANSallows all Missourians to receive automated texts, emails, phone calls or letters any time an offender is scheduled to be released from prison or jail, or have a parole or court hearing. It also allows anyone to receive an automatic notification any time an order of protection has been served in their case. MOVANS has delivered more than 5 million automated phone calls, emails, text messages and letters about offender custody status, court dates and protection order status in the last five years.
The Office for Victims of Crime also administers the Sexual Assault Services Program Grant, the State Services to Victims Fund Grant, the STOP Violence Against Women Grant Program, the Protection Program for Victims/Witnesses of Violent Crime. These programs provide millions of dollars in additional assistance to victims and Missouri communities to serve victims of violent crime by supporting crime victim advocates, law enforcement and court initiatives focused on crime victims, victim centered mental health providers, domestic violence shelters, provider training and education.
The theme of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week this year is “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.” It underscores the importance of communities amplifying the voices of crime survivors and creating environments where survivors have confidence that they will be heard, believed and supported.