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Crime Victim Compensation

State compensation programs vary in scope and procedures. Crime victim compensation, available by statute in every state, helps to alleviate financial losses for medical or mental health expenses related to sexual assault. With very few exceptions, compensation programs pay only for expenses related to personal injury and do not cover property that is stolen, lost, or damaged (although exceptions may be made for such things as eyeglasses, hearing aids, and medical prostheses).

Generally, state compensation programs are payers of last resort, meaning that they cannot offer benefits for expenses covered by medical and automobile insurance, other public assistance programs, and restitution paid by offenders. However, under the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 (Public Law 109–162), jurisdictions using STOP funds to pay for health care providers' time in conducting forensic examinations must certify that the jurisdiction does not require victims of sexual assault to seek reimbursement from their insurance carriers. Furthermore, if states do not use STOP funds, the Office on Violence Against Women strongly encourages jurisdictions against requiring victims to file with their insurance carriers to help maintain their confidentiality and safety.

Issues To Consider
  • How are victims notified about crime victim compensation?
  • Which agencies assist victims in applying for compensation?
  • What types of expenses are covered? Which are not?
  • What are the eligibility requirements?
  • How do state compensation and private insurance work together?
  • What kinds of losses might a victim suffer that would not be compensated?
  • Where do victims apply if multiple jurisdictions are involved?
  • What types of documentation of expenses are required?
  • Are compensation forms available in multiple languages?