Victim advocate

Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice, left, announced the renewal of a federal grant to fund a crime victim advocate to serve the 4th Judicial Circuit. The advocate, Karen Kepka, right, is based out of the prosecutor’s office in Nodaway County.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice announced Monday the renewal of a federal grant that enables his office to employ a full-time victim advocate.

In 2016, Rice collaborated with the prosecutors in Atchison, Gentry and Worth counties as well as the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services and Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys to obtain funding through the federal Victims of Crime Act to hire a prosecutor-based crime victim advocate for the 4th Judicial Circuit. Nodaway County was the sponsoring county for the grant.

The grant was awarded and reimburses Nodaway County for the salary and certain office expenses for a full-time crime victim advocate who provides services to victims throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit. The victim advocate’s office is based in the Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney’s office in the courthouse.

“Crime victims’ rights come first,” Rice said in a statement. “One of my goals as Nodaway County prosecutor was to obtain a full-time victim advocate. This VOCA grant enables me to provide Nodaway County and 4th Judicial Circuit crime victims with advocacy, services, and resources at a fraction of the cost. The results are amazing.

“A collective voice is louder than a single one. I am proud to partner with my fellow prosecutors to provide all crime victims in our community necessary advocacy in the criminal justice system.”

The grant was renewed in fall 2019 for another two years.

Victim advocate services include assistance with crime victims’ compensation fund applications, custody, visitation, support, hotline and crisis counseling, obtaining information about the criminal justice process, restitution, referral to other services and resources, and writing victim impact statements.

“I want people to know that they are not alone,” said Karen Kepka, victim advocate for the 4th Judicial Circuit. “We will get through this together.”

Rice’s office also provides other victim resources, including victims’ rights booklets and children’s activity and coloring books to help children understand the court process.

Resources available for crime victims, including the crime victim advocate’s office, are available by calling the prosecutor’s office at 660-582-8285.

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