Corinth seeking assistance for crime victims

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Domestic violence has been found to be the basis of almost half the homicides in Corinth over the past two decades, and police hope to tackle the problem with a $300,000 victims assistance grant.
Police Chief David Lancaster received approval from the city board on Tuesday to apply for the grant through the federal Office on Violence Against Women. He hopes to know if the city received the grant in a couple of months.
The grant would cover two years of support for a victims assistance program director and coordinator, services and public awareness. The grant does not require any matching funds from the city.
“Domestic violence seems to be on the rise, and we’ve had a good bit in the city already this year,” the chief said. “The law is requiring more and more on how to notify victims when a suspect is arrested, their trial dates, when they’re released from jail and so forth, so we wanted the grant to help counsel them up until the time a case goes to the district attorney’s office, where they can offer victims assistance.”
The police department, Alcorn County Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement and prosecutors would work with nonprofit victims service agencies and advocates such as S.A.F.E., Inc. and Survival, Inc. to serve victims of domestic abuse, stalking and sexual assault crimes.
The attorney general’s office soon will present a training program for law enforcement, Lancaster said, where they will be updated on new laws and changes for this year and what benefits victims are entitled to in the case of death or injury in a crime, such as burial expenses or medical bills.
“We’re trying to work with other agencies, not only the city but also the county,” Lancaster said. “Often misdemeanor cases that don’t go to the district attorney don’t get the attention they need, so we want the victims to know their rights. We’re just in the application stage now, but hope in a few months that we’ll be providing services.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.