Sexual assault victims incur various and mounting costs from the moment they are victimized through their recovery process. Costs can include:
- medical expenses;
- property loss;
- travel expenses;
- relocation expenses;
- wage loss; and/or
- attorney's fees.
Many victims are not aware that, when they engage with the criminal justice system, there are two methods available to them to assist in recovering those costs: restitution and victim compensation.
This module will:
- Define restitution and victim compensation;
- Explain which expenses are considered “recoverable”; and
- Help victim advocates understand the general requirements for victims to receive restitution and/or compensation.
Applying for restitution and/or compensation can be a lengthy process, and can be complicated and overwhelming for victims to navigate on their own. The application requires documentation to justify a victim’s costs. Victim advocates can be helpful in directing victims to the correct agency, helping victims understand what documentation is needed to support a request for reimbursement, and assisting victims in gathering the documents. These processes vary by state and jurisdiction. This module will explore each process generally. Advocates should be aware of the particular rules and oversight agencies regarding restitution and compensation in the state in which they serve clients. Consult your agency’s state-specific supplemental guide regarding restitution and compensation laws in your state. Additionally, the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards (http://nacvcb.org/index.asp?sid=5) and the Office for Victims of Crime’s VictimLaw (https://www.victimlaw.org) provide searchable state law databases. Module 7 provides specific ways victim advocates can help sexual assault victims navigate the restitution and compensation processes.