Survivors of Violence Need Expanded Paths to Healing
In the aftermath of a crime, survivors are forced to rebuild their lives amidst trauma and/or loss. Victim compensation offers lifesaving funds that can aid survivors in their healing process by covering costs associated with crimes, including hospital bills, burial expenses, temporary housing, or replacing locks.
However, survivors from marginalized communities have been systematically excluded from receiving these funds for multiple reasons, including denial of compensation due to alleged contributory conduct, the definition of harm restricted to physical injury, strict filing time constraints, and, most pressingly, onerous law enforcement reporting requirements. Law enforcement reporting as a threshold requirement for victim services has been widely recognized as problematic due to the pervasive lack of reporting by LGBTQIA+ survivors, survivors of color, immigrant survivors, gun violence survivors, and survivors of police violence. Each year, over 50% of violent victimizations in the United States go unreported to law enforcement.
We can remove this burdensome and unnecessary barrier to victim compensation eligibility and ensure that all survivors have access to the healing funds they need by passing S.214A (Myrie)/A.2105A (Meeks) into law. Survivors of violence have suffered enough. We should remove any barrier that prevents them from accessing vital resources that could facilitate their healing.