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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93213 Find in a Library
Title: Victim Compensation - An Analysis of Substantive Issues (From Considering the Victim, P 421-436, 1975, Joe Hudson and Bart Galaway, ed. - See NCJ-27690)
Author(s): B Galaway; L Rutman
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: Charles C. Thomas
Springfield, IL 62704
Sale Source: Charles C. Thomas
2600 South First Street
Springfield, IL 62704
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This critical, comparative analysis of substantive issues pertaining to victim compensation covers the rationale for public responsibility in victim compensation, administration, coverage, cost, and impact on the administration of justice.
Abstract: Framers of current victim-compensation schemes have treated the state's duty to protect as justification for social legislation on behalf of the victim rather than as a basis for state liability, although some have argued that the state is liable for victim compensation because of its monopolization of law enforcement, its separation of punishment from indemnification, and its failure to provide the victim a workable way of securing restitution. The prevailing pattern of victim-compensation programs is the creation of an agency headed by a quasi-judicial body, which is often called a crime compensation board. In considering applications for compensation, the boards seek to determine (1) whether the losses were sustained from a crime falling within the purview of the law, (2) the extent of the loss, (3) the dollar amount to attach to the loss, and (4) how to pay benefits to the claimant. Other questions to be answered are whether board hearings should be public or private, whether the claimant has a right to legal representation (most programs provide for this right), and the regulation of attorney's fees (most programs provide for this). The coverage of victim compensation is generally limited to the victims of crimes of violence and, in the case of disablement or death, to certain classes of dependents. Issues concerning coverage include financial need as an eligibility condition, compensation for pain and suffering, reduction or denial of compensation because of victim fault, and compensation in cases where the offender and victim are related or are members of the same household. In all cases, funds for victim-compensation schemes come from general tax revenues appropriated by legislative bodies. Two jurisdictions have also instituted special fines against convicted offenders. Issues pertaining to the impact of victim compensation on the administration of justice include crime reporting, victim interest in the prosecution of the offender, and the contamination of the criminal trial by the compensation proceedings. Extensive footnotes and 23 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Legislation; Restitution programs; Victim compensation
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