Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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April 29, 2009

Governor Rounds declares April 26-May 2 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. Gov. Mike Rounds has declared April 26-May 2 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in South Dakota. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), signed in 1984 to create the federal Crime Victims Fund.

“Serving victims of crime in South Dakota helps make our communities stronger and safer,” said Deb Bowman, secretary of the Department of Social Services. “Acknowledging the impact crimes have on individuals and families ensures that rights and services are available to help victims rebuild their lives.”

More than 33 million Americans are crime victims each year. The Crime Victims Compensation Program in South Dakota offers financial assistance to victims of violent crimes. The funds used to provide assistance to violent crime victims come from fines and penalties that are levied on misdemeanor and felony convictions.

In 2008, nearly 350 victims applied for assistance from the Department of Social Services’ Crime Victims’ Compensation Program in South Dakota, and more than $400,000 in assistance was awarded to those victims. Typically, the three largest reimbursed expenses are medical, counseling and lost wages.

Observing victims’ rights and treating victims with dignity and respect serves the public interest by engaging victims in the justice system, inspiring respect for public authorities and promoting confidence in public safety.

For more information on the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program call 1-800-696-9476.