Wednesday, September 9, 2009

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Milestone $1 Billion Reached by Texas Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund

AUSTIN – The Texas Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund, which is administered by the Office of the Attorney General, has distributed $1 billion in financial assistance to crime victims and their families since its creation in 1979.

The Fund receives its money from fees, court costs and restitution paid by those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in a state, county or municipal court. When eligible victims and their families have exhausted all other means of financial support, the Fund helps offset the expenses that stem from violent crime.

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“With $1 billion in awards distributed, the Texas Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund has helped victims and their families get the financial assistance they need to help rebuild their lives,” Attorney General Abbott said. “The Office of the Attorney General continues to work cooperatively with local law enforcement, service providers and advocacy organizations to inform crime victims about the Fund and respond to their needs. Together, we will continue working to help crime victims down the path to healing and recovery.”

Since December 2002, the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division provided more than $500 million from the Fund to help victims pay for medical and out-of-pocket emergency expenses and other costs associated with the crimes committed against them. In addition to the money distributed from the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund, the OAG also distributed more than $300 million in grants to nonprofits and victim advocacy organizations since 2002. These state and local organizations provide services such as grief counseling, emergency shelter for abuse victims and other assistance.

To help victims navigate the crime victims’ compensation application process, the Office of the Attorney General provides training to victim advocates, hospitals and law enforcement officials across the state. The training, along with informational pamphlets and the agency’s Web site, www.texasattorneygeneral.gov, are intended to help victims and their advocates better understand application and payment procedures.

For more information about the Office of the Attorney General’s crime victims program, contact the Crime Victim Services Division at (800) 983-9933.