Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Attorney General Greg Abbott Helps Woman Regain Her SmileSAN ANTONIO- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced today that his office's Crime Victims' Compensation Fund has awarded a record $71.2 million to Texas crime victims in the last year - money that will help them rebuild their lives.
"Crime victims who have had their lives ripped apart by violence should not have to suffer because of financial limitations," Abbott said. "My Crime Victim Services Division stands ready to help crime victims get the assistance they deserve to begin rebuilding their lives."
One beneficiary of crime fund money, Ruth Mahl of San Antonio, joined Attorney General Abbott in making the announcement. Ms. Mahl's life changed dramatically on February 21, 1995, when a gang member wanting to steal her car attacked her at a Southwest San Antonio car wash. "During the attack, I was severely beaten," Ms. Mahl recounted. "I was grabbed around my neck, choked and hit in the face several times. My attacker even held a gun to my head. I thought I was going to be killed."
Injuries she suffered in the attack were so severe that Ms. Mahl was physically incapable of smiling. "Since that terrifying ordeal, my life has not been the same. I sometimes bolt upright in bed at night, recalling the experience like a recurring nightmare," Ms. Mahl said. Her injuries were made worse because her insurance paid for just half of the cost of surgeries to reconstruct her face. It wasn't until the Attorney General's Crime Victim Services Division got involved that Ruth Mahl's appearance and confidence were restored.
"Violence robs the dignity and sense of security from thousands of Texas crime victim's every year," Abbott said. "The money the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund delivers can't erase all of their pain, but it can begin the healing process."
Attorney General Abbott's Crime Victim Services Division received a record 34,000 applications for crime victims funding this fiscal year. "It is obvious from the record number of crime victims needing help that it's never been more important to protect the money in the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund," Abbott said. "The money is reaching the right people and giving them the tools to put their lives back together."
The Crime Victims' Compensation Fund does not come from taxpayer dollars. The money comes from fines convicted criminals pay after being sentenced.
For Texans needing assistance through the Attorney General's Crime Victim Services Division, call 1-800-983-9933 or visit our website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.