Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Crime Victims Board
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 29, 2008
New state law assists parents, guardians of child crime victims
Compensation now available for wages lost while a child is hospitalized
Parents or guardians who miss work while their child is hospitalized as the result of being the victim of a crime can now seek compensation from the New York State Crime Victims Board for those lost earnings.
The new law took effect earlier this month. Prior to the law’s passage, only crime victims themselves could seek reimbursement for lost wages. Now, parents or guardians – in addition to their child, if he or she was employed at the time of the crime – are eligible to seek awards for loss of earnings. The total award given to a family cannot exceed $30,000.
“Parents shouldn’t be torn between being by their child’s side after a traumatic experience and worrying about whether their next paycheck will allow them to make ends meet,” said Tina M. Stanford, chairwoman of the Crime Victims Board. “This new law ensures that families won’t be financially victimized as they cope with, and recover from, very difficult circumstances.”
During the past three state fiscal years, the Crime Victims Board has provided other forms of compensation – including reimbursement for medical costs or personal property – to an average of 1,500 child victims annually.
“I am pleased that Governor Paterson enacted this measure into law, and I commend Senator Dale Volker and Assembly Member Ruben Diaz Jr. for their support of this legislation,” Stanford added. “Any appropriate change to our governing statute which would directly benefit crime victims and their families is a welcome improvement. I am certain this is a change which will be embraced by our state’s victims’ advocate community, and I will work to ensure this new law’s proper implementation.”
Established in 1966, the five-member Crime Victims Board’s mission is to “provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner; to fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community-based programs; and to advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime.” It has offices in Albany, Brooklyn and Buffalo.
Innocent victims of crime are eligible to file claims with the board if they meet the board’s requirements, as detailed in “A Guide to Crime Victims Compensation in New York State.” The crime for which the victim is filing a claim also must have been reported to a criminal justice agency and the victim must have cooperated in the investigation and/or prosecution of the case. Reimbursement, however, is not dependent upon conviction.
The Crime Victims Board provided more than $28 million in assistance – including payment of medical and funeral expenses and compensation for lost wages – to crime victims and their families during the state’s 2006-07 fiscal year.
In addition to directly compensating victims, the Crime Victims Board provided $25.7 million in funding to nearly 200 victim assistance programs across the state in 2006-07. Those grants fund programs offered by local district attorneys’ offices, probation and police departments, hospitals, and non-profit organizations such as YWCAs, rape crisis centers and child advocacy centers. Victim assistance programs provide services that range from crisis intervention and assistance with filing for compensation to counseling and arranging for legal assistance.
All told, the board serves approximately 230,000 crime victims annually throughout New York State, from rural Allegany and Schoharie counties to the five boroughs of New York City and everywhere in between. Funding for compensation to crime victims comes from a combination of state and federal monies. The state portion comes from the state’s Criminal Justice Improvement Account, which is funded by mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees assessed on certain offenders. For more information about the Crime Victims Board, visit www.cvb.state.ny.us.