The county prosecutor's office will offer a program designed to aid crime victims, particularly those of gun violence.
The assistance program, Caring for Crime Survivors, includes partnerships with the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime and Jackson County's COMBAT anti-drug agency. County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she hopes the program can build better relations between law enforcement, the criminal justice system and crime victims. Such victims could even include somebody uninjured but whose residence was hit with gunfire.
“This program will place an emphasis on helping crime survivors,” Baker said while announcing the program Wednesday morning. “We are doing it before a case is filed and even if a case is never filed.”
Too often, she said, witnesses to violent acts have little support and ultimately believe the justice system doesn't work for them. In “Caring for Crime Survivors,” law enforcement agencies provide referrals and trained volunteers with the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime and victim advocates from the prosecutor's office then try to meet with crime victims.
With 500 non-fatal shootings in Kansas City alone in 2017, not to mention homicides from gun violence and other violent crimes in the county, Peters Baker said, there are plenty of potential victims and opportunities to provide help.
The program can offer emotional support, help with basic needs such as food, utility bills, clothing, clean up after crimes, minor home repair from crime damage, shelter and relocation assistance and help understanding the criminal justice system.
COMBAT has provided $100,000 for the program, and the prosecutor’s office will provide an undetermined amount, depending on available funds. Spokesperson Mike Mansur said prosecutor’s office will likely have a better idea of available funds toward the end of the year.