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Crime Victims' Rights Week event in Tumwater offers information and resources

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April 10, 2018 #18-009

Tumwater – Twyla Cunha remembers police coming to her door telling her to go to the hospital to say goodbye to her son after he was severely injured in a traffic crash caused by an impaired driver.

Twyla and her family are among the thousands of crime victims every year in Washington that the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) helps. She will be one of the speakers at an April 12 event marking National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

The Yelm resident credits the L&I Crime Victims Compensation Program for support and assistance during her son Michael's recovery: "What they did for us, we wouldn't have known what to do or where to turn. They were a blessing to me, to me and my family."

This year's Crime Victims' Rights Week theme is "Expand the Circle: Reach All Victims." L&I and the state departments of Commerce and Corrections are co-sponsors.

The event runs from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., and is open to the public. It includes community resource tables and information from about 20 organizations and state agencies for crime victims and families. There's also a formal ceremony that starts at 10 a.m. It's being held in the auditorium of L&I's Tumwater building, 7273 Linderson Way S.W.

The Crime Victims Compensation Program managed more than 5,200 claims in 2017, with $8.3 million distributed for medical care and other services. More than two thirds of those claims focused on women and children. The program also paid for more than 4,000 sexual assault examinations.

"It's important to remember these aren't just numbers," said Cletus Nnanabu, Crime Victims Compensation Program manager. "These are people who face shock and injuries as a result of a violent crime. While no amount of compensation can erase these painful memories, the services the state provides can help ease some of the burdens."

Twyla's son was injured in 2015. Michael was riding home with a co-worker who crashed while driving more than 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. The driver was jailed for driving while intoxicated. Michael requires round-the-clock care.

Along with Twyla, speakers at the ceremony will include: Andrea Piper-Wentland, executive director of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs; Stanley Phillips, victim advocate with the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office; and Julie Thomas, director of Victim Services and Training for Victim Support Services.

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 8 – 14. The event's theme reflects an effort to ensure crime victims have access to services and support; and how advocates, organizations and agencies can work in tandem to reach all victims.

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For media information: Tim Church, Public Affairs Manager, Tim.Church@Lni.wa.gov, 360-902-5673. 

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

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