Legislation expands compensation to victims
September 10, 2009
AUGUSTA – A law which will broaden the expenses that can be reimbursed to victims of violent crimes through Maine’s Victims’ Compensation Program is set to take effect Friday, Sept. 12. Rep. Sara Stevens, D-Bangor, introduced the legislation to aid victims of crime.
The Victims’ Compensation Program, formed in 1992 and managed by the Attorney General’s Office, provides financial reimbursement for losses suffered by victims of violent crime and their families. Many people who use the funds are without adequate resources with which to address profound crime-related losses. The revenue for the program comes from assessments on convicted criminals. Since its inception, the program has awarded 3,351 claims and an additional 1,679 claims for forensic sexual assault exams.
“The Victims’ Compensation Program plays an integral role in the healing process of victims across the state,” said Stevens. “The program gives public recognition to the human and financial devastation violent crime can cause to innocent victims and their families.”
The law will expand the expenses that can be reimbursed to include travel expenses and loss of income for a victim or family member of a victim when providing or obtaining care for the victim. It will also enable the program to help a victim install locks on their home and help with security deposit costs, as well as increase the payment to hospitals for forensic exams.
“I’m very happy to see such wide support for the mission of the program and the expansion of the services that it covers,” said Stevens. “Thousands of Maine victims and their families benefit from this program and are able to receive the help they need.”
Rep. Sara Stevens, 942-8900
Sean Smith, Legislative Aide, 287-1430
Travis Kennedy, Chief-of-Staff, 287-1430