New online portal for Crime ­Victims Compensation

Jalayne Robinson, LMSW

TDCAA Victim Services Director

I wanted to spread the exciting news about a just-launched Crime Victims’ Compensation portal now available for crime victims and victim services providers. This portal (www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/crime-victims/crime-victims-compensation-program/apply-crime-victims-compensation) should improve timeframes in the CVC application process as well as provide a way to upload crime-related bills directly to the portal.
     The Crime Victims’ Compensation portal is intended to provide Texans with better, faster access that streamlines the application process while providing current information regarding application status. “This portal will make the application process easier to navigate and help victims and claimants understand every step of the compensation process,” First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer said in a press release. “This is a very effective solution to simplify and expedite getting victims and claimants financial help when they need it.”
 
Tree of Angels
The Tree of Angels ceremony is a meaningful Christmas program specifically held in honor, memory, and support of victims of violent crime. The first program was implemented in December 1991 by Verna Lee Carr, Victim Advocate with People Against Violent Crime (PAVC) in Austin.
    The Tree of Angels program provides an opportunity for communities to recognize that the holiday season is a difficult time for families and friends who have suffered the crushing impact of a violent crime. This special event supports surviving victims and victims’ families by making it possible for loved ones to bring an angel ornament to place on a Christmas tree.
    Over the past 27 years, the Tree of Angels has become a memorable tradition observed in many communities throughout Texas. The designated Tree of Angels week is December 2–8, 2018. If you are interested in hosting a Tree of Angels in your community in the future, a how-to guide is available to provide information about establishing such a ceremony.
    Please note the Tree of Angels is a registered trademark of PAVC, and PAVC is committed to ensure that the original meaning and purpose of the Tree of Angels continues. For this reason, PAVC asks that you complete the information form on the website www.treeofangels.org to receive the how-to guide. After the form is completed and submitted, you will receive instructions on how to download the guide. PAVC asks that you do not share the electronic document to avoid its unauthorized use or distribution.
    If you have any questions regarding the guide or about hosting a Tree of Angels in your community, please contact Licia Edwards at 512/837-PAVC or via email at [email protected] violentcrime.org.
    TDCAA would love to publish photos and success stories of your Tree of Angels event in an upcoming issue of The Texas Prosecutor journal. Email event information and photos to me [email protected]

In-office visits
TDCAA’s Victim Services Project is available for in-office support to your victim services program. We at TDCAA realize the majority of victim assistance coordinators (VACs) in prosecutor offices across Texas are the only people in their office responsible for developing victim services programs and compiling information to send to crime victims as required by Chapter 56 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. We realize VACs may not have anyone locally to turn to for advice and at times could use assistance or moral support.
    My TDCAA travels have recently taken me to Harris, Hood, Van Zandt, Ector, and Burnet Counties to assist VACs, prosecutors, and staff with in-office consultations for their prosecutor-based victim services projects. Thanks to each of these offices for allowing us to offer support! I thoroughly enjoy my job and travels across Texas. I realize how nice it is to have someone to turn to when victim services-related questions surface.
    Please e-mail me at [email protected] for inquiries or support or to schedule a consultation or presentation.