NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Department of Treasury is joining organizations across the country April 18 - 24 in recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to raise awareness of victims’ rights, inspire the community, and address unmet needs.
In observation of the week, State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr., wants to remind the public of a fund designed to help innocent victims of violent crimes in Tennessee and restore hope. The Criminal Injuries Compensation (CIC) Program, a program of the Tennessee Department of Treasury, serves victims who have no other means of helping to defray the costs of eligible expenses. The fund covers expenses caused by personal injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of support to financial dependents, mental health counseling, and more.
Money in the fund can even help with the expenses incurred while cleaning the scene of the crime, if it occurred in a victim’s home. If the crime results in the death of the victim, the fund can help those remaining dependents with some financial support and can help cover funeral expenses.
The theme for the 2021 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, “Support Victims. Build Trust. Engage Communities” celebrates the contributions that we all can make toward building trust in our community’s capacity to support the healing journeys of crime victims. We are honoring both the individual victims in our community and the groups engaged in building networks of understanding and support.
About 1.2 million people were victims of violent crime in 2019, excluding simple assault, a significant decrease from the year before, according to the most recent National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Now is the time to redouble our efforts so that victimization continues to decline and fewer and fewer Tennesseans become victims of crime.
Since its inception in 1982, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund has paid out more than $325 million in claims to Tennessee victims and their families when no other financial means were available. The money in the fund comes from fines, penalties, and fees paid by criminals to state and federal courts.
“This is a fund of last resort,” Treasurer Lillard said. “One would hope to never be a victim, but we all know bad things do happen. When you have no other means, please know there is still help with this program.”
Learn more about the CIC program at treasury.tn.gov/injury. Follow the Tennessee Treasury on Facebook and Twitter to get involved in the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week conversation.