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Revisions to Crime Victims' Compensation Program Increase Options for Survivors

The most extensive revisions and updates in decades were made to Missouri law on the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) program in the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The changes expand who can receive compensation, update the processes by which the compensation program operates, and remove barriers to compensating crime victims for harm and losses that resulted from their victimization.

Twelve significant statutory changes to the CVC Program include:

  • The definition of a “crime” was changed to specify that the act does not have to be “adjudicated” in court, and a “crime” is no longer defined as an act committed by a mentally competent person;  
  • Crime victims do not have to be physically injured to be eligible for compensation;
  • “Emergency services” are no longer defined by a 30-day time limit;
  • Crime victims are no longer required to report to law enforcement within 48 hours;
  • Sworn statements, protection orders and forensic exams qualify as crime reporting;
  • Crime victims are not required to cooperate with the prosecution of the criminal case;
  • No requirement for out-of-pocket financial losses or two weeks’ lost wages;
  • Restored eligibility for crime victims with felony conviction records;
  • Three-year time limit removed for compensation claims;
  • Mailed claims and notices and in-person filings no longer required (an online system for all CVC claims, communications and processes is being developed by the Department of Public Safety);
  • Claims for compensation no longer have to be notarized before being submitted; and
  • Health care providers and/or hospital personnel may directly submit reports.

“These changes will significantly ease the burden victims must meet in order to apply for compensation and make more people eligible to receive reimbursement for the expenses they experience as a result of crime,” Sandra Karsten, acting director of Department of Public Safety said.

The Crime Victims' Compensation Program has been in existence since 1982. Historically, only a fraction of people who apply for compensation are approved due to failure to supply all the onerously required information. In 2014, of the 651 denials, 420 were because of failure to supply complete information. These changes can increase options for survivors who might have felt the process was too much of a burden to apply. Recommendations from the Missouri Justice Reinvestment Task Force directly resulted in this legislation being filed. This was also an MCADSV legislative priority.

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