FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 08, 2019


Crime Victims’ Rights Week ceremony highlights advancements for Missouri crime victims; calls attention to continuing need to support victims

Governor Parson, Attorney General Schmitt to speak at April 10 ceremony honoring crime victims, survivors, victim advocates for their continuing efforts

In the last year, Missouri has reformed its Crime Victims’ Compensation Program to get assistance to more victims, initiated an effort to test thousands of untested sexual assault kits, and enacted a law to expand the use of drug treatment courts across the state. Those are some of the advancements Governor Mike Parson pointed to at the beginning of national Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13.

“In Missouri, we continue to strive to improve how our criminal justice system treats and supports crime victims,” Governor Parson said. “In the last year, Missouri has made it easier for crime victims to get assistance from our Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. We’re also working to ensure that sexual assault kits are recorded and tested in a timely manner.”

Among the changes Missouri has taken in the last year are:

  • House Bill 1355, which took effect on Aug. 28, 2018, mandated sweeping changes to Missouri’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, including eliminating requirements that crimes be reported within 48 hours, that compensation payments end after three years, that counseling expenses be limited to $2,500, and that applications had to be notarized. The CVC program is part of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
  • In October, Missouri was awarded a $2.8 million U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant to inventory, track and test a backlog of more than 5,000 untested sexual assault kits. Attorney General Eric Schmitt has named Judge Keithley Williams and a multi-discipline team to lead the effort.
  • In October, Governor Parson signed HB 2 into law, which allows Missouri jurisdictions without treatment courts to transfer defendants to jurisdictions that have them. Governor Parson said the expansion would be a more effective alternative than prison for defendants in need of treatment.

Governor Parson has proclaimed April 7 to 13 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Missouri in honor of the continuing efforts of crime victims and victim advocates to make Missouri safer and more supportive of crime victims. 

Missouri will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on Wednesday, April 10, with a ceremony at the Capitol. This year's theme – Honoring out Past. Creating Hope for the Future. – celebrates the progress made by crime victims’ rights advocates, while also looking to a future that is more inclusive and accessible. The ceremony will honor the efforts of crime victims, survivors and victim advocates.  

Wednesday, April 10

WHO:               Governor Mike Parson; Attorney General Eric Schmitt; Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten​; Callaway County Prosecutor Chris Wilson; Victim Speaker Johanna Olsen-Henry

WHAT:            Missouri Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony

WHEN:            12 p.m.

WHERE:          Missouri Capitol Rotunda, Jefferson City, MO

The Department of Public Safety administers programs and grants for crime victims and agencies that assist victims, including the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Program, the Sexual Assault Services Program Grant and the Missouri Victim Automated Notification System (MOVANS).

MOVANS allows all Missourians to receive automated emails or phone calls 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. In the last five years, MOVANS has delivered more than 4 million automated phone calls, emails, text messages and letters about offender custody status, court dates and protection order status.

The Missouri Crime Victims’ Compensation program helps pay crime victims’ out-of-pocket expenses, such as counseling, funeral expenses, and lost wages. In the last five years, it has awarded more than $23 million to more than 8,300 Missourians who were victims of crimes involving violence or the threat of violence. 

The following agencies donated their time and effort to make this year's Crime Victims' Rights Week ceremony and awareness events successes: Green Dot Program of Lincoln University, Missouri Attorney General's Office, Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Missouri Department of Corrections, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri Department of Public Safety – Crime Victims' Compensation Program, Missouri Department of Public Safety – Crime Victim Services Unit, Missouri Department of Social Services – Division of Youth Services, Missouri KidsFirst, Missouri Office of Prosecution Services, Missouri Secretary of State's Office – Safe at Home Program, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Victim Assistance Network, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.



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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov