For Victims

Voices of Victims

You are not alone. Many people tell us they find strength and support by hearing from others.

Meet some of the victims and family members we have helped.

Let me begin by thanking the Crime Victims Compensation Program for allowing me to share my story.

As much as I anguish re-living the horrific day my daughter was killed, I know that our story is too familiar to many families all across this country. Parents losing children as a result of violence has become a common occurrence which we must never become numb to and accept as a way of life.

Treasuring life is the most precious gift we have ….. Deirdre was a gifted, loving and caring person who saw the good in everyone she came in contact with. Her final earthly act expressed true servanthood of kindness, love and forgiveness.

On September 16, 2013 at 8:45p.m., my daughter Deirdre was gunned down in her community while attempting to be a peace maker between to young ladies. After that altercation was diffused, another escalated between two men who began to shoot at each other in the crowd of onlookers. Two bullets hit Deirdre and she laid fatally wounded in her son’s arms just steps from her home. Both men committed the cowardly act of running from the scene, but were subsequently apprehended and both later convicted of murder with life sentences.

I became aware of Victims Compensation a few months after Deirdre’s death, but processing the required paper work was beyond my emotional capacity to handle. The personal, financial and the family impact of this loss coupled with legal matters made living robotic, difficult to meet deadlines and impossible to adjust to this “new normal”.

I attended the annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week ceremony and met Shanon Pouelsen. Although the one year time frame for submitting an application for compensation had expired, Ms. Pouelsen encouraged me to submit the paper work and if denied, I should request an appeal. The hardest part for me was completing the application, explaining the circumstances surrounding this request and dealing with the guilt for making the request. Once that was completed and submitted, the Victims Compensation staff guided me through the entire appeal process with calls and regular written updates. The staff was passionate, caring and resourceful which made the process of receiving compensation as a result of losing a loved one a bit easier…the guilt a bit less…the financial burden a bit lighter and the future a bit brighter.

To lose a child under any circumstances is a mother’s worst nightmare, but when the person is the victim of a crime, the very soul of humanity is damaged and the lives of parents, siblings, children, relatives and friends are forever changed.

Those of us who share the bond of victimization, we cannot allow evil acts to set the mold for our living. Yes, we miss, we grieve, we cry, we mourn, we even may ask why and there are times when even one step becomes almost impossible to take. Although we miss Deirdre every minute of every day, we choose to celebrate her life and not the circumstances of her death.

But we must remember to let the world know about our special person and that “their lives mattered too”. There is no prescribed way to honor the life of your loved one but just do it in your own unique way and celebrate those memories.

I appreciate the Victims Compensation Program for reaching out and guiding me through this difficult season. I am further encouraged to hear that the application timeframe has been extended to 3 years and that the process continues to evolve based of the needs of the victims and their families. I pray that my humble words will be of help and comfort other families who have experienced or will experience the pain of being victimized by crime.

With the help of Victims Comp and a patient advocate, Tonya is rebuilding her life

Tonya was assaulted by a neighbor ― someone she considered a good friend ― and suffered several injuries to her face. The severe scarring left her ashamed and embarrassed about her appearance, and left her feeling isolated from the world. She lost her new job because of the assault, and was at risk of losing her home.

As medical bills piled up, Tonya grew uncertain about how she would pay the balances. Just when her situation looked bleak, a patient advocate from the hospital where Tonya received treatment reached out and recommended Victims Comp. The advocate also helped Tonya understand what types of compensation she qualified for and assisted her in completing her application.

“I cannot thank the program itself enough, because they actually gave me back time for my salary, which was great,” Tonya said. “They paid for my medical bills. They even paid for the medication I had to pay for out of pocket due to the assault.”

Altogether, Victims Comp was able to help Tonya get reimbursement for more than $13,000 in medical expenses, lost wages and counseling expenses. She says the counseling sessions are what really helped her adjust to life after the assault. “I was able to actually tell my side of the story and my counselor gave me pointers to help me in life to cope with the situation.”