Compensation for crime victims in the United States is a vastly underutilized resource, says the National Center for Victims of Crime. In a new report, the center says that only about 4 percent of the 23 million annual crime victims in the country file applications to state compensation programs. Fewer than half of victims who sought services were told about the availability of compensation.
Because most compensation funds rely on fines by offenders and court fees, the “unpredictable and unstable revenue source” ignores “the larger societal responsibility to help victims of crime,” the center said. The center urges reforms of crime victim compensation, including that it “recognize all types of losses, including economic and non-economic, as well as victims ongoing losses.” The report, “Repairing the Harm: A New Vision for Crime Victim Compensation in America,” includes an analysis of compensation data from all states and a review of the September 11th Federal Victim Compensation Fund.