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State offers free counseling for shooting witnesses

The Oregon Department of Justice is offering emergency financial compensation to help pay for counseling for people who were at Clackamas Town Center at the time of the Dec. 11 shooting rampage.

The department’s Crime Victims Services Division has set up an expedited assistance process that will help pay for at least 10 counseling sessions for people who were at the scene. A link to the application form is at the division’s website— http://www.doj.state.or.us/victims/pages/index.aspx

“It’s hard to imagine the trauma and terror of witnessing a masked gunman indiscriminately firing an automatic weapon through a mall full of holiday shoppers,” Attorney General Rosenblum said. “Our Crime Victims Services Division is well positioned to get people the help they may need.”

The central mission of the Crime Victims Services Division is to reduce the impact of crime on victims’ lives. The division’s Crime Victims Compensation program, created in 1978, helps pay medical and counseling costs associated with violent crime. It can also pay up to $5,000 in funeral costs for homicide victims.

The division receives almost 6,000 applications for help each year. In the 12 months ended Sept. 30, it paid out about $4.5 million. The division gets its money from federal grants and from restitution and fines paid by criminals. It also gets a share of all punitive damages paid by litigants in Oregon courts.

Applicants for the counseling will be contacted by the state. Crime Victims Compensation will generally cover the cost of counseling not paid for by insurance or employers.



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