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MDCH Recognizes National Crime Victims' Rights Week April 22-28

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2012

LANSING - In conjunction with the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and its Crime Victim Services (CVS) division is recognizing National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

During the week of April 22 through April 28, a series of events will take place across Michigan and throughout the country, such as public rallies and candlelight vigils, to promote and recognize victims' rights and services.

This year's theme for National Crime Victims' Rights Week - "Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim" - calls on advocates and Michigan citizens alike to expand the vision that inspired the movement and celebrate the progress achieved to date.

More than 20 million Americans are victims of crime each year, and each crime affects many more, including families, friends and communities. CVS provided services, which include compensation benefits, victim assistance, victim rights and Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFE Response), for more than 300,000 residents last fiscal year.

"We are reaching more people in Michigan with our victim assistance programs," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the MDCH. "In a little more than a year, our compensation benefits have increased significantly. These benefits allow victims to receive the financial, emotional and medical resources they need to help them heal and move forward."

Michigan's compensation program in CVS helps pay out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost earnings, funeral bills or financial support for eligible victims if they suffer physical injury as a direct result of a crime. In 2009-2010, CVS received 1,663 cases and paid $5 million in claims. In 2010-2011, CVS received 1,535 cases and paid $4.9 million in claims, including compensation and SAFE Response.

In December 2010, the state Legislature increased CVS's compensation benefits from an overall maximum reimbursement of $15,000 to $25,000. The Legislature also increased maximum benefits for funeral expenses, loss of wages, medical expenses, grief counseling and psychological counseling.

For more information about CVS in Michigan and for a list of local Crime Victims' Rights Week activities, please visit www.michigan.gov/crimevictims. For more information about National Crime Victims' Rights Week, visit www.ovc.gov.

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