June 25, 2019

Melanie Mendoza
(818) 217-6078

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly Public Safety Committee Tuesday approved a bill that would extend the time limit by which crime victims must apply for key support from the California Victim Compensation Board. The bill, SB 375, authored by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, would allow people to apply for victim compensation up to 10 years after becoming the victim of a crime. Current law requires crime victims to file an application within three years of the crime occurring to be eligible to receive victim compensation in most cases. The change would give California one of longest time limits of any state in the nation for crime survivors to apply for help.

The three-year deadline has left many victims of crime without access to the victim compensation program which can provide them with the resources they need to attain recovery. Many crime victims are unaware of the victim compensation program, or are not ready to apply in the aftermath of an incident, especially when they are dealing with the trauma of it years afterwards.

According to a 2013 survey of California crime victims, nearly one in three victims reported that they were unaware of but interested in victim compensation. A recent April 2019 report on the experiences of crime survivors in California found that less than one in five victims received the various types of help that the victim compensation program can support, like financial help with medical costs, counseling and mental health support, and emergency housing.

Tinisch Hollins, California state director, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice: “The health and safety of our communities depend on crime victims getting the support they need to recover, yet too many barriers to that support remain in place. SB 375 prioritizes the needs of crime survivors by making the system more responsive and trauma-informed, recognizing that people often aren’t ready to apply for victim compensation in the immediate aftermath of an incident. Crime victims shouldn’t be prevented from accessing recovery services because they are struggling with trauma. Ensuring that there are pathways to healing and recovery for those most harmed is key to stopping the cycle of unaddressed trauma that undermines safety and perpetuates harm.”