Crime victims and advocates honored for improving lives of the i - - Jackson, MS

Crime victims and advocates honored for improving lives of the injured

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's Mississippi Crime Victims' Rights Week, a time to honor victims and advocates. Tuesday survivors and those who work on their behalf were recognized by the Attorney General's Office.

Among them is one victim of domestic abuse who was awarded for overcoming tragic circumstances and reaching out to others who find themselves now living her past nightmare.

"Everything on this side has been completely reconstructed," said domestic abuse survivor Bershae Bingham while pointing to the right side of her face.

The Columbia resident was in an abusive marriage and lost her right eye, as well as her career as an ultra sound technician. But with the help of crime victim advocates the 45 year old has rebuilt her life.

She was presented the Image of Resilience Survivor Award. 

"Six years ago I was a victim of domestic violence and without the support of the coalition and WINGS, which is Women In Need of God's Shelter, a domestic violence shelter, I wouldn't have found the strength to come of out of such a dark and lonely situation," added Bingham.

During Attorney General Jim Hood's annual Mississippi Crime Victims' Rights Week awards presentation, those who make a difference in the lives of crime victims were recognized. 

"But remember that everyday you are there for the next victim and unfortunately there will be another,"  Governor Phil Bryant told advocates as he shared his personal impact of violent crime. Bryant said his aunt was kidnapped, raped and murdered in the early 1980's.

There are more than 1,100 applications for victim's compensation filed with the Attorney General's office. Officials say that is well below the number of actual number of victims.

Attorney General Jim Hood said his agency distributes more than $3 million dollars each year to crime victims, paid for through convict restitution.

Survivors also heavily rely on support from law enforcement and the judicial system to domestic violence shelters and non-profit organizations.

"This is our opportunity to recognize those who help with victims," said Hood. "There are not that many jobs you can say you helped somebody that day that really needed it and a victim of crime that's been down, that's when they really need it".

Bingham, who is on disability, now volunteers using her experiences to improve the lives of other domestic violence victims.   

"There are so many people out there that do help and will help," added the survivor award recipient. "They don't get the recognition that they deserve for being and doing all the work they do".

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 10-16.

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