Updated federal victim compensation program guidelines to expand eligibility and access to more crime survivors
WASHINGTON – The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) published yesterday newly proposed regulations to update guidelines for state victim compensation programs. The proposed regulations aim to end harmful exclusions and expand eligibility to all victims, deliver urgent help with less red tape, and reach more survivors in crisis. Leaders of Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) and its national membership program of more than 200,000 diverse survivors Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) – who’ve worked closely with OVC for years to remove barriers to victims compensation – have released the following statements in response:
“For decades too many crime survivors and families of slain victims have been unable to access help from state victim compensation programs in times of crisis,” says Aswad Thomas, vice president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “We applaud the Office for Victims of Crime for listening to the experiences of crime victims and proposing new regulations to ensure that more people have access to this crucial support.”
“When rules are bureaucratic and vague, it leads to opaque and arbitrary decision making, and undermines the most vulnerable victims of crime,” says Lenore Anderson, president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice and author of In Their Names: The Untold Story of Victims’ Rights, Mass Incarceration, and the Future of Public Safety. “Data shows that the majority of the victims of violence do not get help in the aftermath, which leads to instability and vulnerability to additional victimization. These proposed regulations will get more victims help and improve public safety.”
In 2023, ASJ released a report that underscores the need to expand access to victim compensation and proposed guidelines for states to follow. The guidelines were driven by the voices of marginalized survivors, advocates across the country, and based on ASJ’s work to help pass legislation improving compensation programs in more than eight states.
About the Alliance for Safety and Justice
The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) is a multi-state public safety organization that aims to replace over-incarceration with more effective public safety solutions rooted in crime prevention, community health, rehabilitation, and support for crime victims. ASJ partners with state leaders and advocates to achieve safety and justice reforms through advocacy, organizing, coalition building, research, and communications. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.
About Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) is a national network of more than 180,000 crime victims that are joining together to share stories, heal together, and advocate for a justice system that prioritizes healing, prevention, and recovery. CSSJ is a flagship project of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. For more information, visit https://cssj.org/.