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Murder victims' families protest cuts to crime counseling staff

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Chicago Tribune

More than 11 family members of people killed in violent crimes called on Cook County commissioners Tuesday to protect a program within the state's attorney's office that helps crime victims.

The proposed 17 percent budget cuts called for by County Board President Todd Stroger would mean laying off 12 to 15 employees from the office's Victim Witness Assistance Program, said John Gorman, a spokesman for Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine.
Kim New, the program's director, said 63 employees are assigned throughout the county's 16 courts to advocate for families of crime victims and help them during the legal process. On average, each employee has 200 to 400 cases, she said. The program began in 1981.

Charmaine Dade, whose daughter Choni Dade, 21, was killed on the South Side in 2003, said the program helped her and her grandchildren.

"The state's attorney's people were a godsend. If you cut the victim witness program, who are you going to have to help people get through this?" Dade asked.




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