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Crime Victim Compensation

NCJ Number
D M Carrow
Date Published
29 pages
This policy brief describes the experience of several States over the past 15 years (1965-1980) in providing monetary compensation to victims injured as the result of a criminal incident.
Many feel that crime victim compensation programs offer the most equitable and accessible source of monetary assistance for crime victims. Unlike private insurance, such programs have no bias against the infirm, elderly, unemployed, or low-income individual. Financial relief is not contingent upon the apprehension of the offender, nor does it rely on the offender's ability to pay. Finally, it does not require that the victim institute any private civil actions against the offender. Basic benefits of victim compensation programs may include all medical costs not reimbursed through other sources and unreimbursed loss of earnings. Should the victim die, dependents may receive compensation for loss of support and funeral costs. Medical costs of the deceased victim may be paid as well. Finally, other benefits include short-term emergency awards, attorneys' fees, and compensation for disability. Maximum limits on benefits range from $10,000 to $50,000. Information is provided on such key features of victim compensation programs as coverage, eligibility application process, claims decisions, and payment methods. Actions which legislators and government executives may undertake to develop victim compensation programs are briefly discussed. An agenda, which is provided for establishing a victim compensation program, includes options for program placement, program funding, and instituting or revising the compensation legislation. Sources of additional information and assistance are listed. Appendixes contain New York State House Bill 2366-A, the Uniform Crime Victims Reparations Act, and the Federal Crime Victim Compensation Bill (H.R. 4257).