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Financial Assistance for Illinois Victims: Crime Victim Compensation Fund

NCJ Number
Anne Kirkner; Jaclyn Houston-Kolnik
Date Published
June 2019
15 pages
After a general discussion of the need for and features of state crime victim compensation funds (CVCFs), this report describes the features of the Illinois CVCF and suggests ways to improve it and make it more accessible to crime victims in the state.
Under the Illinois CVCF, those eligible to apply for financial assistance are victims and close family member survivors of violent crime, along with witnesses of violent crime. The CVCF covers expenses incurred in physical and mental health treatment, relocation, loss of wages, transportation to and from medical and counseling facilities, and replacement of items taken or destroyed during the crime. Eligible applicants may apply for and receive up to $27,000 in compensation, with distribution capped at $1,250 per month and funeral/burial expenses at $7,500. To be eligible for CVCF funds in Illinois, most crime must be reported within 72 hours. Sexual assault victims must report their victimization within 7 days. The application for CVCF funds must be filed within 2 years of the date of the crime or within 1 year of criminal charges being filed, whichever is later. Recipients of CVCF funds must have cooperated with police in the investigation and prosecution of the crime. Some suggested improvements in policy and practice are to explore easing reporting and cooperation requirements so as to expand eligibility for domestic violence and sexual assault victims; increase public awareness of the Illinois CVCF; provide more training for victim advocates on how to assist victims in accessing victim compensation; and explore how to increase access to the CVCF for more crime victims. 1 table and 1 figure