For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: [email protected]
CRIME SURVIVORS PRAISE MICHIGAN HOUSE PASSAGE OF BILLS REDUCING BARRIERS FOR VICTIM SUPPORT
House Bills 4674-4675 — Part of the Bipartisan Package Known as the Safer Michigan Act – Passed the House of Representatives
These Reforms Would Increase Support for Crime Victims By Improving Access to the State’s Victim Compensation Program
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan House of Representatives today granted final passage to crucial reforms expanding support for crime victims. House Bills 4674-467, sponsored by State Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Rep. Bradley Slagh (R-Zeeland) , passed with bipartisan support and will now be considered by the Senate. The legislation increases support for crime victims by allowing all crime victims in need to access victim compensation, expands victim compensation coverage to account for actual costs resulting from crime victimization, and increases how much time crime victims have to apply for help. This legislation, which is part of the Safer Michigan Act package of public safety bills, is supported by members of the business and faith communities, as well as crime survivors throughout the state.
“Crime victims should have equitable and widespread access to the resources they need to heal after experiencing violence,” said Aswad Thomas, chief of organizing at Alliance for Safety and Justice and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Thanks to this crucial legislation, more Michigan crime victims will be able to use the state’s victim compensation program to cover lost wages, overdue rent, or anything else they need as they heal from trauma. We applaud Representative Kahle and Representative Slagh for sponsoring this legislation and listening to crime survivors, and thank members of the Michigan House of Representatives for helping victims recover and addressing trauma throughout the state. Before crime victims brought victims compensation reform to Rep Kahle, they faced enormous red tape barriers and unreasonably strict rules that made accessing compensation impossible for too many.”
“Trying to get your life back on track after victimization can sometimes feel impossible,” said Priscilla Bordayo, a Michigan-based member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and sexual assault survivor. “Life doesn’t stop after someone experiences trauma – we still have rent, medical bills, and other financial obligations that now weigh even more heavily on our weary shoulders. We thank elected leaders in the House for standing with us and fighting for our needs as survivors. The Senate should pass this legislation as quickly as possible so that Michigan crime victims can finally get the help they need.”
“Thanks to our leaders in the House, Michigan crime survivors are one step closer to resources that would dramatically improve outcomes for people trying to heal from violence,” said Qiana Wimbley, a Michigan-based member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and gun violence survivor. “With improved access to victim compensation, survivors can focus on healing and recovery – and more quickly get back to the lives they once led. If passed by the Senate, this legislation will be a lifeline for many families in our state.”
About Michigan’s Victim Compensation Bills (HB 4674-4675)
The victim compensation bills increase support for crime victims by allowing all crime victims in need to access victim compensation, expanding victim compensation coverage to account for actual costs resulting from crime victimization, and increasing how much time crime victims have to apply for help. Data from ASJ shows that 25% of Michiganders were the victim of a crime in a ten year period, but less than one in five reported receiving information about services and fewer received any services (i.e. medical assistance, mental health support, financial assistance for medical costs or monetary losses, emergency or temporary housing, etc.). Michigan currently has the lowest application rate for victim compensation in the nation. Survivors have just 48 hours to report a crime if they intend to apply for victim compensation—the shortest reporting limit in the country. Michigan statute also requires applicants to file claims in person or by mail, and compensation only covers a maximum of $25,000 for any application—below the national average, and well below actual costs.
ABOUT ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Alliance for Safety and Justice is a multi-state organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It brings together diverse local crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network that has thousands of members in Michigan. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.