Evans, Douglas N. (2014). Compensating Victims of Crime. New York, NY: Research & Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.
Victims of violent crime are often unable to access financial compensation to offset the costs of victimization (e.g., medical, lost wages, funeral expenses) despite the massive amounts of money set aside for just that purpose. Currently, there is about $11 billion in the federal Crime Victims Fund (CVF). Less than 10 percent of this amount is allocated to state victim compensation programs. This report explores the funding mechanisms used by federal and state governments to compensate victims of crime and it describes the administrative and policy problems in these systems. The report offers several recommendations for improvement. States have their own methods for funding victim compensation, but a gradual increase in spending of CVF funds could address the need for compensation among thousands of crime victims who never receive any support from the existing system.
This report was prepared as part of the Research & Evaluation Center’s partnership with Justice Fellowship. The mission of Justice Fellowship is to reform the criminal justice system so communities are safer, victims are respected, and offenders are transformed. Justice Fellowship operated as an independent organization until 2001, when it became a department within Prison Fellowship Ministries.