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April 19, 2002

L&I sets aside a day to recognize the victims of violent crime

TUMWATER - King County Sheriff Dave Reichert will head the list of distinguished speakers Tuesday, April 23, when the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries joins the rest of the nation in recognizing the victims of violent crime.

National Crime Victims Awareness Week starts on Monday. Its purpose is to promote a greater understanding of victims' needs and raise awareness of the services and support available to them. In this state, Labor & Industries administers the Crime Victims Compensation Program.

Tuesday's daylong program is designed to illustrate the resources available to help crime victims and their families. Those resources include health-care benefits, counseling, partial wage-replacement and help with funeral costs. The program is open to the public and free. It runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in L&I's Tumwater auditorium, located at 7273 Linderson Way SW in Tumwater.

Reichert first joined the Sheriff's Department as a deputy in 1972. He was appointed Sheriff in 1997 and was elected to a four-year term that November and again in November 2001. Among his duties, during the 30 years he's been with the department, was to oversee the Green River murder investigation. The families of six of the Green River victims applied for and received assistance from L&I's Crime Victims Compensation Program.

Joining Reichert on the program will be Eva Santos, deputy director of L&I, and criminal investigator Rick Mathers. Reichert and Mathers will talk about investigations and the importance of never giving up on a criminal case.

Also speaking will be Democratic state Sen. Jeralita Costa of Marysville. Costa is a citizen activist and former executive director of Families and Friends of Violent Crime. She continues to serve on that organization's advisory board, and is a national lecturer on criminal justice and victim services.

Labor & Industries has run the assistance program since it was established in 1974. Annually, the agency receives nearly 5,000 requests for assistance. The largest categories are rape and domestic assaults. Nearly 70 percent of the victims are women and children.

Earlier this week, President Bush announced his support for a constitutional amendment protecting the rights of crime victims.

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