Governor Parson, Attorney General Schmitt to speak at April 10 ceremony honoring crime victims, survivors, victim advocates for their continuing efforts

In the last year, Missouri has reformed its Crime Victims’ Compensation Program to get assistance to more victims, initiated an effort to test thousands of untested sexual assault kits and enacted a law to expand the use of drug treatment courts across the state. Those are some of the advancements Gov. Mike Parson highlighted at the beginning of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 7-13.

“In Missouri, we continue to strive to improve how our criminal justice system treats and supports crime victims,” Parson said. “In the last year, Missouri has made it easier for crime victims to get assistance from our Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. We’re also working to ensure that sexual assault kits are recorded and tested in a timely manner.”

Among the changes Missouri has taken in the last year are:

House Bill 1355, which took effect on Aug. 28, 2018, mandated sweeping changes to Missouri’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, including eliminating requirements that crimes be reported within 48 hours, that compensation payments end after three years, that counseling expenses be limited to $2,500, and that applications had to be notarized. The CVC program is part of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

In October, Missouri was awarded a $2.8 million U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant to inventory, track and test a backlog of more than 5,000 untested sexual assault kits. Attorney General Eric Schmitt has named Judge Keithley Williams and a multi-discipline team to lead the effort.

In October, Parson signed HB 2 into law, which allows Missouri jurisdictions without treatment courts to transfer defendants to jurisdictions that have them. Parson said the expansion would be a more effective alternative than prison for defendants in need of treatment and reduce recidivism.

Parson has proclaimed April 7 to 13 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Missouri in honor of the continuing efforts of crime victims and victim advocates to make Missouri safer and more supportive of crime victims.

Missouri will observe National Crime Victims’ Rights Week on Wednesday, April 10, with a ceremony at the Capitol. This year's theme — Honoring out Past. Creating Hope for the Future — celebrates the progress made by crime victims’ rights advocates, while also looking to a future that is more inclusive and accessible. The ceremony will honor the efforts of crime victims, survivors and victim advocates.