Attorney General Martha Coakley Amends Regulations to Compensate Victims of Violent Crimes
"We believe these new changes will make a significant difference for victims of crime and their families," AG Coakley said. "We will provide additional funding for funeral expenses incurred by families of victims of homicide and assist other victims with costs for the clean-up of crime scenes and other expenses."
The changes to the regulations, filed with the Secretary of State's Office, broaden the assistance options to victims while maintaining the existing monetary cap on victim compensation. Some of the changes include:
- Authorization of compensation for eligible victims and their families for crime scene clean-up, up to $1,500
- The replacement of clothing and bedding seized as evidence, such as during a sexual assault investigation, up to $250
- The replacement, repair or installation of locks or other security devices to promote victims' safety, up to $500
- A raise on the current cap for funeral and burial expenses from $4,000 to $6,500, which reflects the increased costs of funerals and burials
- Compensation for ancillary funeral expenses, such as grave markers and urns, up to $800
- Reimbursement of mental health services for non-offending parents of victims
Additionally, the regulations have been updated to reflect the applicable changes from the Massachusetts health care reform law.
In April 2009, Attorney General Coakley, along with over 20 legislators from around the state, filed legislation to update victim compensation laws by broadening assistance options available to victims of violent crimes. Updates to this law were passed in July 2010 and are effective as of November 5, 2010. Claims filed based on crimes that occur on or after November 5, 2010 will be regulated by this new legislation, with the exception of some crimes involving minors.
The Victim Compensation Fund is a fund of last resort that assists eligible victims and their families with expenses that are not covered by other funding sources like homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance, automobile insurance or workers compensation. The Attorney General's Victim Compensation & Assistance Division is able, by statute, to provide financial assistance to eligible victims of violent crime for uninsured medical and dental care, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and loss of income or financial support as a result of crime-related injury. The AG's Victim Compensation & Assistance Division is funded largely by fines levied against perpetrators of crime. More information can be found at www.mass.gov/ago/victimcompensation.