Aiming to put focus on survivors, The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is observing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week from April 23rd through April 29th with this year’s campaign theme “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.” A report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics revealed that in 2021, the most recent year for which this data is available, 4.6 million violent victimizations and 11.7 million property crimes occurred. Indiana was infamously among states with higher rates of property crimes than the national average.
Communities across the United States are being led by the Federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) in annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Commemorative vigils and events across the state serve to raise awareness of victims’ rights and honor crime victims along with those who advocate on their behalf. ICJI has taken this opportunity to remind Hoosiers about its Victim Compensation Program and other resources available to those who are impacted by violent crime.
Indiana’s Victim Compensation Program has been working to cover certain expenses for victims of violent crime and their families since 1978. This compensation usually comes in the form of reimbursement to providers and can be used to alleviate costs such as medical bills, funeral costs, and counseling services.
These funds are available if the crime has occurred within the past two years and reported to law enforcement within 72 hours and resulted in bodily injury. Eligible claimants can be reimbursed up to $15,000 in those cases. Families of victims in which the criminal act resulted in the loss of life may be eligible for an additional $5,000 for funeral and burial expenses. The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation in 2022 that expands the list of expenses eligible for compensation and now covers costs associated with crime scene cleanup and the replacement of windows or door locks.
The Indiana Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System is also overseen by ICJI. Survivors who are interested in tracking their sexual assault kits may do so by visiting on.in.gov/TrackMyKit and entering their kit’s serial number and assigned pin. ICJI also administers various state and federal grant programs to assist organizations with their efforts to provide support services to victims and prevent violent crime.
A comprehensive list of ICJI programs and other resources is available at www.cji.in.gov/victim-services. Victim-centered resources on topics ranging from domestic violence to human trafficking are available at HopeAndHelpIN.org.