JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (Sept. 25, 2018) State Auditor Nicole Galloway recently released two reports reviewing the Crime Victims' Compensation system. The audits, which were performed by the Auditor's data analytics team, reviewed the computer system that manages payments to crime victims and made recommendations to improve the system's operations and data security.
The Crime Victims' Compensation program, which is managed by the Department of Public Safety, was established to financially assist victims of a crime. Claim payments, which can include medical, counseling, funeral or other related expenses, totaled approximately $15 million from 2016-2018. The current computer system has been in effect since 2016 and includes large amounts of data with personally identifiable information.
"These individuals have already been victims of a crime, making it that much more important that the state takes every precaution to protect their personal information and ensure the system operates as efficiently as possible," Auditor Galloway said. "This report includes several recommendations to improve processes and better serve these victims."
The data security report found lack of planning in data management could result in system vulnerabilities and recommended the department document and establish formal policies and procedures; a security plan, and a security and privacy awareness training program. The audit also made recommendations to ensure user access is appropriate and that users are not able to access the system from multiple locations at the same time.
In an audit of the system's operations, the review found ineffective automated controls related to claim amounts and dates. Since certain system data controls do not always work as intended, the department relies on individuals to review and correct errors. This increases the risk that inaccurate payments could be processed by the system.
The report also recommended a more efficient process to ensure the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund receives the proper funding under state law. Currently, staff manually review records to ensure various courts are remitting fees collected as required to support the program. An automated process could ensure a more effective and efficient review.