Local News

Crime Victims Getting Help in NC

Posted January 2, 1998

— Crime victims are getting some help in North Carolina this year. State funds, set aside by the General Assembly, are now being used to hire 60 victims' assistants who will help victims and their families understand the legal system.

Many families who have been through this before know how important such help can be.

The General Assembly has set aside $3.5 million for victims' assistance programs so far. A victims' rights bill will be up in the short session this May. If passed, more jobs could be funded to help victims.

Ray Gilmore, a Clayton police officer, was gunned down 16 years ago this January 30. The murderer is behind bars, but Gilmore's parents, Willam and Nola Gilmore, say they felt confused and alone.

The Gilmores say they felt left out of everything, even as they were enduring their pain.

The Gilmore's are not alone. Many victims' families or victims themselves feel that defendants have really benefited the most in our judicial system. Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says that with a little help from the state Legislature, the system can change that perception.

Wake County has just hired five new victim's assistants. The General Assembly has set aside $3.5 million for victims' assistance programs so far. A victims' rights bill will be up in the short session of the Legislature this May. If passed, more jobs could be funded to help victims.

Photographer:Joe Frieda

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