New state funding increases benefits for crime victims

The 2022-23 state budget, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, increases benefits available to victims of crime and provides more funding for Trauma Recovery Centers across the state.

“With this increased funding, we’ll be better able to help crime victims recover and restore their lives,” CalVCB Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill said. “We’re grateful for the support of the Legislature and the Governor to expand victim services in California.”

Increased compensation limits
Eligible victims of violent crime are entitled to receive $70,000 in reimbursements for crime-related expenses through CalVCB once all other sources of payment, such as health insurance, are exhausted. Many of the individual expenses have limits.

The budget raises the limits for three types of expenses for the first time in 20 years. The limit for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses increased from $7,500 to $12,818.
  • Relocation expenses increased from $2,000 to $3,418.
  • Crime scene cleanup expenses increased from $1,000 to $1,709.

The new limits take effect immediately and will apply to new applications submitted beginning today.

Trauma Recovery Centers
The budget provides $23 million in additional funding for Trauma Recovery Centers. Besides boosting grant awards for current TRCs and providing more to award over the next three years, the funding will provide TRCs with flexible emergency cash assistance for victims for such costs as transportation, childcare, food, emergency shelter or other urgent expenses.

The budget also funds a three-year pilot program to create satellite TRC offices in rural or underserved communities in the Central Valley and Northern California.

TRCs, which are funded through grants administered by CalVCB, provide trauma-informed mental health treatment and case management to underserved crime victims who may not be eligible for victim compensation, or who may be fearful of reporting a crime to law enforcement.

Erroneously convicted felons
By statute, people who have been erroneously convicted of felonies can be compensated in the amount of $140 per day of wrongful imprisonment. The budget changes statute to authorize CalVCB to pay claims approved by the board directly rather than reporting them to the legislature for appropriation. This process will allow approved claimants to receive their compensation more quickly.

Outreach campaign
In addition, the budget allocates $3 million for CalVCB to conduct a media and outreach campaign to raise awareness of victim services. The campaign will focus on reaching underrepresented and marginalized communities.