How survivors of gun violence can access services they need to heal

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is launching a new effort to care for survivors of gun violence. She believes crime victims need more help.

The prosecutor says we expect victims to cooperate with the justice system to put bad guys behind bars, but we offer little in return to make their lives whole again.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from COMBAT, Jackson County's Community-Based Anti-Drug Sales Tax, trained workers from the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime will knock on the doors of shooting victims offering them in-home counseling, repairs for gunshot damage to their homes and even buy them groceries.

The goal is to build trust in the community that may later result in more cooperation in putting criminals behind bars.

"The victims we serve are very, very appreciative," said Marilyn Layton, a victim advocate. "Oftentimes I may reach out to a victim and they decline services, but they are always shocked and thankful for the opportunity to be served."

Last year Kansas City alone had about 500 shootings where someone was hit by gunfire but did not die.

The prosecutor says the program's limited funding cannot provide assistance to all of them. Especially for relocation, which is a huge expense at the top of the list for many shooting victims. But this caring campaign is a start.

If you are a crime survivor and need help, the prosecutor wants you to call the Caring for Crime Survivors Help Line at 816-842-8467.