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Crime Victims' Rights Week ceremony will highlight state support available

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April 6, 2017 #17-010

Tumwater – First Lady Trudi Inslee and former state Sen. Jeralita Costa are the featured speakers at a ceremony in Tumwater on Friday marking National Crime Victims' Rights Week. This year's theme is "Strength. Resilience. Justice."

The April 7 event starts at 2 p.m. in the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries' (L&I) auditorium at 7273 Linderson Way S.W.

Along with the ceremony, there'll be information for crime victims about resources available from more than a dozen organizations and state agencies. The list includes the Thurston County Crime Victims Advocacy Network, Crime Victim Service Center of Lewis & Mason County, and Washington State Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates. There will also be an overview of the help L&I and the state departments of Commerce and Corrections provide crime victims.

"Many crime victims don't know that there may be help available from state or local agencies," said Cletus Nnanabu, manager of L&I's Crime Victim Compensation Program. "Together, with our resources, we can provide services that may help ease the impact of violent crime on victims and their families."

L&I's program provided services to nearly 8,900 victims of serious crime in 2016 and paid benefits totaling $8.8 million. Most people were victims of assault. It also paid for more than 3,600 sexual assault medical exams and covered funeral costs in homicide cases.

Corrections has more than 11,000 enrollees in its victim notification system, providing a variety of services such as safety planning and accountability letters. Commerce has received increased federal funding for the work of its Office of Crime Victims Advocacy in efforts to serve more than 40,000 impacted individuals and families.

Over the years, First Lady Inslee has focused on the needs of women and children, with an emphasis on social service programs and organizations that provide services for the homeless and victims of sexual assault.

Costa now works as a community corrections specialist for the state Department of Corrections and has been a longtime advocate for crime victims. Her extensive public experience includes work for Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims and the Washington State Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates.

Johna Martin, a victim/witness advocate for the Lewis County Prosecutor's Office, will also speak at the ceremony about issues facing advocates in aiding crime victims.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is from April 2-8. The event's theme reflects an effort to strengthen victims with needed services; show the resilience of agencies in responding to the overall challenges facing crime victims and their families, and provide justice and healing.

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For media information: Matthew Erlich, Public Affairs, 360-902-6508, Matthew.Erlich@Lni.wa.gov.

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