The following is a news release from the Office of the Attorney General of Guam:
The Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Grants Team has secured a $500,000.00 grant to improve victims’ access to services and the responsiveness of victim- centric service organizations such as the OAG’s Victim Service Center (VSC). This is the second grant obtained by the OAG within a week that provides financial resources that directly and positively impact the community. Guam was one of only four jurisdictions across the country to receive funding for this initiative.
The OAG’s VSC advocates assists over 1,100 victims of crime each year in a variety of ways, including answering questions about the criminal justice process, keeping victims informed on the status of their cases, assistance with referrals and applying for relief such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program (CICP), providing transportation to court hearings, and providing emotional support.
The OAG will look at using technology to increase accessibility to the CICP, which provides financial relief to victims of violent crimes. This year alone, over $150k has been awarded to crime victims to cover costs such as medical bills and costs related to repairing damaged property by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Commission (Commission).
Since the revitalization of the program in 2015, the Commission has awarded over $875k to eligible crime victims.
The OAG is also looking at using grant funds to increase accessibility for crime victims and improve coordinated responses through the creation of a 24/7 teleservice and messaging system, the implementation of a mobile advocacy program, and the coordination of training for victim advocates, law enforcement personnel, criminal investigators and attorneys on vicarious trauma and trauma-informed interviewing techniques.
“We have used technology to increase the ability of crime victims to access our services. But we also must recognize that child care, busy work schedules, and a stable internet connection can pose a challenge for many victims. Under the mobile advocacy programs, we will literally be able to meet crime victims wherever they’re at,” said Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho.
The OAG Grants Team is led by Erica Leon Guerrero and includes Keith Aguero, Nicole Borja, and Emmajean Lamb. Raena San Nicolas also assisted in the submittal package of the grant.