Crime victims in California are getting less financial help from a state victim compensation fund, and too much is spent on administering the program, says a state audit reported by the Los Angeles Times. Victim compensation payments fell from $123.9 million in the 2001-02 fiscal year to $61.6 million four years later — a 50 percent decline.
“Despite the significant decline in payments, the costs the board incurs to support the program have increased,” auditor Elaine Howle told Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “These costs — ranging from 26 percent to 42 percent annually — account for a significant portion of Restitution Fund disbursements.” The state victims board has increased the amount allowed for claims for mental health services, burial and other needs. The fund is financed with restitution fines against convicted criminals, as well as federal grants. Last year, 50,895 claims from crime victims were filed, a 4 percent increase from the year before.