MOUNT VERNON — National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is being commemorated April 7 through April 13, 2019. This year’s theme “Honoring Our Past- Creating Hope for the Future” celebrates the progress made before us as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible, and more trauma informed. It creates an opportunity for communities to come together and reflect on the history of crime victims’ rights.

The victims’ rights movement of the 1970s and 1980s resulted in the creation of many programs designed to assist victims of crime and in the passage of laws at the local, state, and federal level establishing certain rights for victims. These rights and services vary somewhat from state-to-state, depending upon the laws of each state and available resources. State and local authorities investigate crimes which are violations of state criminal laws. Most crimes investigated by the FBI involve violations of the United States Federal Criminal Code.

Victims of federal crimes are entitled to certain rights and services according to federal law.

There are a few programs throughout the state to help you. Victim Information and Notification Everyday, or VINE, will give you up to date information about an inmate in an Ohio state prison or county jail. You can access VINE 24 hours a day and register to be notified if that inmate posts bond, has a change in custody including release, transfer, escape, change in parole or supervised release status or death.

To register, call (800) 770-0192 and follow the prompts or visit www.vinelink.com. This site provides valuable information to victims.

The Office of Victim Services in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections will notify the victim of the same events. To request notification, call (614) 728-1976 or www.drc.ohio/gov. The Ohio Crime Victim Compensation Program may help compensate for economic loss that isn’t materialist such as medical expenses not covered by insurance, lost wages, clothing damaged by medical treatment, counseling, crime scene clean up, and funeral expenses.

Within the past six months, the Ohio Crime Victim Compensation Program has paid over $90,000.00 in compensation to Knox County crime victims for these types of expenses.

The Knox County Victims’ Assistance Program hired its first advocate, Betty Pealer, in 1997. She continues on with New Directions, the domestic violence shelter. Currently, Knox County has a victim assistance program associated with the City Law Director’s Office and Municipal Court, which handles misdemeanors, and the Knox County Victim Assistance Program, associated with common pleas court, which handles felonies and juvenile cases.

Since 2017, Ellie Cline, victim advocate, has been involved with cases through the City Law Directors Office. Ellie can be reached at (740) 397-5736 or at ecline@mountvernonohio.org. Diana Oswalt, Director of the Knox County Victim Assistance Program has been with the program for 18 years and works within the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office which not only handles felony case but also juvenile cases. Her contact information is dianaoswalt@co.knox.oh.us or by phone at (740) 397-3404.

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Mount Vernon News: 740-397-5333 or news@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews