US Cemetery Plot Donor Program 'Down Under'?
Monday, 10th May 2004 at 1:05 pm
In the US an innovative Not for Profit has designed an unusual program called the ‘Cemetery Plot Donor’ program to help crime victim families afford funeral services. Only in America or a possibility in Australia?
The US Homicide Survivors Inc. is a NFP committed to helping families and friends who have lost a loved one to murder, by providing a wide array of services, including victim rights advocacy, criminal justice information, emotional support, trial accompaniment, and victim assistance.
The organisation says that when planning a funeral, the cemetery plot is one of the most expensive purchases required. A donated plot reduces the total cost of the funeral significantly. This allows victim’s families to have a dignified funeral service and provides them a place to visit their loved one.
So far, 146 cemetery plots have been donated across America, representing over $US248,000 worth of plots!
Both in the US and Australia it could be said that homicide is not a palatable topic for many people and raising money to assist victims of murder and manslaughter is a battle.
Queensland’s Homicide Victims’ Support Group knows only too well about finding funds for needy families who have lost someone to these crimes.
VSG CEO Bernadette Shanahan says the idea of a cemetery plot donor program would be wonderful considering the lack of government compensation in that state for needy families who have to find the cash to pay for a burial.
Shanahan says Queensland is by far the worst funded state. Victorian victims of serious crime can obtain up to $100,000 compensation and 20 hours of counselling. In NSW the figure is up to $50,000 as well as 20 hours of counselling.
But she says in Queensland the maximum compensation is $4000 and families can only apply for the reimbursement of expenses for funerals for example of up to $2000.
She says a Cemetery Plot Donor program would be a great benefit in Australia particularly if local Councils became involved and donated a certain number of plots from each cemetery in their municipality.
Maybe not such an unusual idea!