Governor Signs Bill Extending Time for Victims to Apply for Compensation
SACRAMENTO – On Sunday Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1232 into law. This bill, authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and sponsored by Californians for Safety and Justice, increases the age of eligibility for a young person who has been a victim of a crime to apply for compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board.
“Barriers such as stigma, depression, self-blaming, and lack of support make it especially hard for youth, low-income, minority, and immigrant communities to address trauma,” said Senator Bradford. “One in five Californians is a crime survivor. This bill gives victims the time they deserve and require to apply for help.”
Youth under the age of eighteen and young adults between eighteen and twenty-four are particularly vulnerable following victimization. Unless certain exceptions apply, current law requires that the application be submitted by the later of: three years after the date of the crime; three years after the victim attains 18 years of age; or three years after the victim or derivative victim knew or should have known that an injury had been sustained as a direct result of the crime.
“Many young victims who miss work or school to recover deserve ample opportunity to receive financial support for counseling, therapy, and education or medical bills,” continued Bradford. “Many people don’t realize that the Victim Compensation Board exists and that reimbursement from it can even be used to help pay for other essential expenses such as food, rent, and transportation.”
“It is crucial that we ensure survivors of crime receive the treatment and services they so desperately need, and this bill is a significant step in that direction," said Anna Cho Fenley, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. "The fact is, young people are very often not ready immediately to seek compensation and deal with their trauma and in a significant number of cases that means they’re too late to receive the assistance they’re entitled to under current law. Doing whatever we can to make sure kids who have been a victim of crime have access to the services they need to address their trauma and get on a pathway toward healing and success is a key component of a safety strategy rooted in prevention, and Gov. Brown deserves enormous credit for continuing to restore balance to our state’s criminal justice system.”
Senator Bradford represents the Los Angeles County communities of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, Torrance, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.