FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOVC
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1998202/307-0703

NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF FRAUD

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department released today a new handbook, brochure, guidebook and companion video to help victims cope with the effects of fraud. These materials were developed by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and a Justice Department working group under a grant from the Department's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC).

"The computer age leaves everyone vulnerable to all kinds of fraud, including telemarketing and identity fraud and health care scams," said Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which includes OVC. "We are working to ensure that the needs of this often overlooked group of victims are addressed."

"The impact of fraud on victims can be tremendous," added Kathryn Turman, Acting Director of OVC. "Not only do some victims lose their entire life savings, but the social and psychological impact can be devastating as well. Victims are often robbed of their security, self-esteem and trust in others."

"Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities: A Handbook for Fraud Victims Participating in the Federal Criminal Justice System" describes how fraud affects victims, explains victims' rights and provides information about services available to assist victims with the criminal justice process. The handbook also addresses how individuals and the community can protect themselves against financial fraud.

Designed as a pocket reference for law enforcement officers and victim advocates to provide to victims, the brochure, "Information for Victims and Witnesses Who Report Fraud Crimes," provides answers to frequently asked questions about financial fraud and includes assistance contact information.

The guidebook, "Providing Services to Victims of Fraud: Resources for Victim/Witness Coordinators" and its companion video give federal personnel who work with fraud victims information about how to develop effective victim assistance programs and services.

These new resources are being released at today's economic crime conference sponsored by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, the National Center on Elder Abuse, the San Francisco Consortium for Elder Abuse Prevention, Goldman Institute on Aging, San Francisco SAFE and the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. OVC is participating in a workshop on victim/witness assistance programs.

OVC is the federal government's chief advocate for crime victims and their families. OVC administers two grant programs for states to expand victim compensation and assistance programs, as well as other grants to support innovative programs benefiting crime victims. It also sponsors training to help criminal justice officials and others better meet the needs of crime victims and their families.

For copies of the fraud materials or for more information about OVC, call the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872. Or, visit OVC's web site at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/ or the OJP home page at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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