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State agency reminds victims crime scene cleanup expenses may be covered under fund

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is from April 23-29
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Posted at 10:18 AM, Apr 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-24 18:22:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute wants to remind crime victims throughout the state they may be eligible for compensation through the state’s Victim Compensation Program.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is from April 23-29.

In 2022, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation that expanded the list of expenses eligible for compensation to include crime scene cleanup and the replacement of windows or door locks.

In March, WRTV Investigates told you about the murder of Eric Cavanaugh in Columbus. His best friends, who lived with Cavanaugh at the time of the murder, were stuck with the $9,181 crime scene cleanup bill.

WRTV Investigates connected the families with the state’s Victim Compensation Program.

After WRTV Investigates got involved, Susanne Cavanaugh received a $9,181 check from the state’s Violent Crime Victim Compensation Program.

“We will be able to completely pay this off for the boys!!” Susanne Cavanaugh texted to WRTV Investigates Kara Kenney. “Thank you so much, Kara, for getting me in touch with the ICJI.”

This week, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is ramping up efforts to spread awareness about its Victim Compensation Program and other resources that exist to assist those impacted by violent crime.

"As a society, we must understand that victims of crime have already been through so much, and they deserve our full support and attention,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “We must listen to them, respect their rights, and ensure they have access to the resources they need to heal and move forward. It's not just about holding offenders accountable, but also about empowering victims and giving them a voice in the criminal justice system and beyond."

Established in 1978, the state’s Victim Compensation Programworks to make victims and their families whole by covering certain expenses incurred as a result of a violent crime. Compensation, which typically comes in the form of reimbursement to providers, can help with medical bills, funeral costs and counseling services, in certain circumstances.

"A large part of the work we do at the agency is devoted to supporting crime victims and the organizations that advocate on their behalf," said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. "We would prefer that these resources were not necessary, but it is essential for people to know that they are available in the unfortunate event that they become a victim of a crime."