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Diffusion of Victim Compensation Laws in the United States

NCJ Number
Victimology Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (1979) Pages: 119-124
W G Doerner
Date Published
6 pages
The diffuse pattern of victim compensation legislation in the United States is analyzed.
The critical variable is whether or not a State legislature enacted a victim compensation law during the 1965-76 period. It was hypothesized that as overall State innovation increases, the victim compensation laws would more likely be passed. A stepwise regression analysis showed that welfare expenditures were indeed a prime predictor of the adoption of a victim compensation law. Median family income, the State's violent crime rate, and the innovation index were also important predictors of whether a State would pass such a law. These results indicated that the diffusion of victim compensation laws resulted from a blend of proponent welfare and social contract arguments, as well as from the level of available economic resources and the state's proclivity toward innovation. Victim compensation was shown to be a patterned legislative response in answer to the amount of crime protection and welfare available in each State. The study points out the need for research into legislator voting patterns with respect to victim compensation and legislator perceptions of victim needs. A table and six references are included.


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