April remembers victims of crime, resources available for victims in Pennington County

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Whether its murder, or domestic violence or any number of crimes, April is designated to raise awareness for victims.

It’s National Victim’s Awareness Week and Rapid City Police in conjunction with Pennington County Sheriff’s Office has specialists for victims. The specialists actually work to provide resources for cases, ranging from domestic violence to all the way up to murder cases.

And during this week, they’d like to remind others that they are here for the community.

Since Fall of 2016, Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office have run the Victim’s Assistance Program – through the Victim’s of Crime Act, or V.O.C.A.

Over 1,300 survivors of traumatic crimes have been able to receive the assistance they need. The two departments are the only agencies in South Dakota that are a part of the Victim Assistance Program.

“Sheriff Thom became sheriff and right away had that in mind to bring about this program certainly knowing the federal dollars that were available for that, began this program,”said Victim Specialist, Scott Hultgren.

V.O.C.A. has $500 million that can be utilized by agencies all across the country.

Pennington County, having applied and received a portion of the V.O.C.A. grant, may use the funding to pay for expenses that fall unexpectedly on victims, like crime scene clean up, funeral expenses and more.

“Specifically in three areas, medical costs that aren’t covered by insurance, counseling costs that aren’t covered by insurance and funeral costs that they may not have covered by insurance or other needs.”

Hultgren says the specialists are even equipped with car seats to transport children who may need care while their families get help.

He says the funding will always be there and says people are nationally recognizing the need for it.

“In terms of taking it away it’s just too important of a program and it’s been there for far too many years and has done far too much good for them to remove it.”

For resources, visit Pennington County’s website.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News