Helping survivors with crime-related expenses

      Comments Off on Helping survivors with crime-related expenses

Victims and survivors of violent crimes could receive additional help from Iowa’s Victim Compensation Fund when they incur further expenses related to the crime, under a new bill I’m working on.

Victims of violent crime, as well as the friends and family of homicide victims, suffer physical, emotional and financial hardship. Medical costs, counseling, funeral expenses and lost wages add to the trauma of the crime itself. Victims and survivors can be hit with additional costs if a defendant gets a new trial or a resentencing hearing—sometimes years after the original crime—or when a cold case is solved and a defendant is finally charged.

In these situations, victims must again relive the horror of the original crime and face the worry of the offender walking free. We can’t undo a victim’s experience, but we can help Iowa’s survivors recover.

SF 276 aims to help with the new costs to victims and survivors. In addition, the bill ensures family members are compensated for lost wages when attending court proceedings.

The Victim Compensation Fund, administered by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, is made up of criminal fines and penalties, victim restitution, a percentage of wages earned by inmates and money from the federal Victims of Crime Act.

Senate File 276 has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill is now eligible for debate by the full Senate.

For more information on the Crime Victim Compensation Program, go to www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/for-crime-victims/crime-victim-compensation-program.