Victims of violent crime may suffer financial stress as devastating as their physical injuries and emotional trauma. Recovering from violence or abuse is difficult enough without having to worry about how to pay for the costs of medical care and counseling, or about how to replace lost income due to disability or death.
The good news is that every state has a crime victim compensation program that can provide substantial financial assistance to crime victims and their families. And while no amount of money can erase the trauma and grief victims suffer, this aid can be crucial in the recovery process. By paying for care that restores victims’ physical and mental health, and by replacing lost income for victims who cannot work and for families who lose a breadwinner, compensation programs are helping victims regain their lives and their financial stability.
Compensation programs can pay for a wide variety of expenses and losses related to criminal injury and homicide. Beyond medical care, mental health treatment, funerals, and lost wages, a number of programs also cover crime-scene cleanup, travel costs to receive treatment, moving expenses, and the cost of housekeeping and child care. And states continue to work with victims and advocates to find new ways to help victims with more of the costs of recovery.
Telling victims about compensation is the responsibility of every individual who works in victim services and law enforcement. This resource also should be made known by those who provide medical and counseling services. Compensation programs depend largely on these professionals who work with victims daily to get the message out that financial assistance is available, and programs typically expend a great deal of time and effort in providing training and information to them. We encourage everyone with a role in helping victims to get more details from the program in their state by contacting it directly.