Attorney General Raoul Applauds General Assembly Passage of Legislation Expanding Access to Crime Victims Compensation Program

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Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today applauded the Illinois General Assembly’s approval of legislation that would increase accessibility to the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program.

Senate Bill (SB) 3713 is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Attorney General’s Office, the Alliance for Safety and Justice and Ascend Justice. The legislation will next go to the governor for approval.

“Survivors of violent crime often face enormous financial and emotional barriers to recovery, in addition to the physical trauma they have experienced,” Raoul said. “I would like to thank the sponsors and the members of the General Assembly for passing this important legislation. I am committed to working with advocates to support survivors, and I will continue to push for increased services and resources for those affected by violent crime.”

The Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program – administered by Raoul’s office – provides reimbursement to eligible victims of violent crime and their families, helping to pay expenses that include hospital and medical charges, funeral and burial costs, relocation expenses and lost wages related to the crime. SB 3713 amends the Crime Victims Compensation Act by making the program more accessible to applicants as well as expanding eligibility both for who can apply and what items individuals can be reimbursed for.

“We are encouraged by the steps that the Attorney General’s office has taken over the past few years to make the crime victims compensation program more accessible for survivors in Illinois while we continue to advocate for increased access to the program for underserved crime survivors,” said Aswad Thomas, vice president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.

The legislation would expand the number of individuals who would be eligible and reduce barriers for victims of violent crime and their families.

“SB 3713 is an important step in making crime victim compensation more accessible and equitable in Illinois, especially for survivors of community violence and gender-based violence. Many survivors of gender-based violence, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking, endure financial costs associated with their victimization, including relocating to a new home, medical bills, counseling or therapy expenses, and lost wages from missing work,” said Sara Block, managing director of advocacy and partnerships at Ascend Justice. “Crime victim compensation is a critical support that reduces these financial burdens so that survivors can focus on healing from the trauma the victimization has caused. Ascend Justice is appreciative of the bill’s sponsors Sen. Robert Peters and Rep. Maurice West, chief co-sponsor Rep. Lindsey LaPointe and the numerous co-sponsors for their support and leadership to ensure that victims of crime are able to receive the financial compensation they need and deserve. Ascend Justice is also grateful to the Office of the Illinois Attorney General for supporting the bill and its intention, and we look forward to continuing to work together to further strengthen crime victim compensation in Illinois.”

SB 3713 is sponsored in the Illinois House by State Rep. Maurice A. West, II. The measure passed unanimously in the House today.

“A victim of a violent crime deserves justice and compensation for their experience, and we must do more to help make victims whole,” West said. “This legislation significantly improves the Crime Victim Compensation process, to help victims receive compensation quicker and easier while also helping the state streamline its compensation procedure. I want to thank the advocates who tackled this issue and proposed these solutions, and I will continue to work with them to ensure these changes accomplish their intended goals.”

The legislation is part of Raoul’s ongoing efforts to support victims and address violent crime throughout the state. The Attorney General’s Violence Prevention and Crime Victim Services Division helps victims and families on their road to recovery with trauma-informed, statewide programs and resources. For additional information on services for crime victims or to report a violation of victims’ rights, please call the Attorney General’s Crime Victims Assistance Line at 1-800-228-3368 or visit the Attorney General’s website.

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