By Art Holliday
St. Louis (KSDK) - Each crime has a victim who may suffer personal injury, emotional stress, or financial problems.
The Crime Victim Advocacy Center was founded in 1972, formerly known as Aid for Victims of Crime, and can help people in those situations. It's the first victim assistance program in the country.
Julie Lawson, President and CEO of CVAC, says a major challenge is attending to the mental health needs of clients.
"Really understanding fully what a victim needs following a crime and whether they'll come in and get the help. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. If they don't sometimes by the time they get in here, they're post traumatic stress disorder is really acute," said Lawson.
"It was a devastating blow . I mean, he's 15-years-old. I'm not supposed to see him die, it's supposed to be the other way around," said Theodore Higginbotham.
Higginbotham was raising his teen grandson until he was shot to death in 2009. He was devastated, and sought counseling at CVAC.
"Your life being shattered like that, it's just hard to take and the fact that you have someplace to go and someone to talk to makes a difference, it's helped me," said Higginbotham.
"We want to help victims with the problems created by the crime," said Jessica Meyers.
Meyers works with the families of murder victims
Besides a variety of physical problems suffered by crime victims, Meyers says she routinely sees other issues, financial problems, and psychological problems.
Even the crime victims' faith can be shaken.
"Questioning why God let this happen to them. It can really rock someone's faith to the core when they've been the victim of a crime," said Meyers.
The Crime Victim Advocacy Center works with about 4,000 clients annually.
For more information, visit their website.