A legislative proposal co-sponsored by Barrington Rep. Joy Hearn (D-63) will strengthen Rhode Island's Crime Victims Compensation Program.
House Bill 5969 amends the emergency fund for victims section in the criminal injuries compensation statute to add relocation expenses. The proposal calls for emergency compensation for relocation costs not to exceed $2,500.
The section already allows for emergency compensation for burial and crime scene clean-up expenses. Often for victims of violent crime, rebuilding their lives means finding a new place to live. This amendment will help families afford safe shelter.
“This legislative proposal will change lives, and could quite possibly save them,” said RI Treasurer Gina Raimondo who announced the bill on Monday at the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center in Pawtucket.
“By government coming together to work with community leaders, we are finding solutions to keep families safe,” she said.
Since 2011, Raimondo’s office eliminated a 900 case backlog dating back to 2008. Also, working with legislative leaders in 2011, the criminal injuries compensation statute was strengthened by adding crime scene clean-up and increasing the amount paid to support burial expenses.
Established in 1972, the Crime Victim Compensation Program helps innocent crime victims with the many costs associated with violent crime. The program may cover expenses related to medical bills and loss of earnings up to $25,000. In Fiscal Year 2012, 422 Rhode Island families were awarded more than 1,300 payments totaling $1.9 million.