NJ.com — Twice the Victim

If you’ve suffered a crime, there’s state money to help. Good luck getting your hands on it.

by Ted Sherman
August 28, 2018
NJ Advance Media for NJ.Com

The national picture

… Douglas Evans, a senior investigator with the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said victims are often unaware there is support for them.

“It should be advertised, like in a hospital where you are treated after being hurt. Not in a police station,” he said.

The rules also can create unnecessary barriers, he said.

“I get it when someone involved in a crime is barred from compensation. But barring compensation because of a conviction several years ago doesn’t make sense,” Evans said.

In his 2014 study, “Compensating Victims of Crime,” Evans found there are vastly more victims than those who submit compensation claims and receive payments. The report noted that compensation programs are underutilized and “administrative complexity often makes it difficult for victims to receive compensation.”

With such a large amount of reserve funds, Evans said some state and federal officials have been tempted to use a portion of the funds to balance budgets or for other non-victim purposes.

How often does that happen? “The fact that it’s happening at all is a problem in itself,” said Evans.

New Jersey officials assert they do not re-allocate money for crime victims into the state’s general fund. The attorney general said overall spending has also been down because more health expenses of victims are being picked up through the Affordable Care Act.

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