Crime Victims Compensation
The government has various programs meant for crime victim compensation. These programs differ across states. In most cases, the government compensates victims who suffer crimes such as rape, arson, assault, child sexual abuse, fraud, homicide, domestic violence, and some forms of burglary. Crime victims experience financial stress, physical harm and injuries, and psychological trauma after encountering such crimes. Through the compensation, the victims can comfortably cater for the expenses associated with counseling costs, medical and dental expenses, mental health, lost property and wages, and burial expenses among others. Compensation involves the provision of financial support to a crime victim by the state government and the offender. However, in most cases, the offender’s inability to adequately cover for the costs required by the crime victim makes the program ineffective. The state should embrace the compensation of crime victims since it can sufficiently cater for all the costs required by a victim after experiencing a crime scene as compared to the offender alone.
Why the State should Compensate Crime Victims
Crime victims pass through various experiences that affect their physical, emotional, psychological, and financial stability. Therefore, the decision to compensate the victims helps in regaining their previous stability in life. Compensation may be in form of state government programs’ support or criminal penalties, fines, and fees imposed on the offenders (Ashworth, 1986). However, the state should take a more direct role in the compensation by providing sufficient financial assistance to the victims (Fattah, 2016). The state’s engagement in the provision of compensation revolves around different reasons.
Firstly, the state has a program associated with budgetary allocation for compensation of the crime victims. Since the first compensation program in California in 1965, the US government has constantly maintained support for assisting the crime victims financially after suffering losses and trauma due to criminal offences (Ashworth, 1986). In this light, the government allocates financial resources for use in the purpose of supporting crime victims. Currently, the US government spends over $500 million in the compensation of victims after criminal incidences at individual and family levels (Miers, 2014). Most of this money comes from offenders through penalties, fees, and fines. Also, some of this money comes from the taxpayers. Over 35% of the allocated financial resources go directly to the victims’ compensation (Miers, 2014). The government links the financial assistance to the victims through the state compensation programs. By providing the assistance to the victims, the state ensures support for the victims to reclaim their normal lives (Karmen, 2012). In case of homicide, the state helps the members of the victim family to carry out activities such as burial using the financial assistance provided.
Secondly, the state can ensure timely compensation of the crime victims through engaging in the provision of financial assistance. In most cases, many states prefer having a larger percentage of the crime victim compensation finances coming from the pockets of the offenders through fines, penalties, and fees (Fattah, 2016). Unfortunately, many offenders end up making late or even no payment at all. Where the payment is delayed, crime victims may suffer from unattended physical injuries, psychological trauma, and medical expenses, burial expenses, and instability in life pending the incurred losses (Miers, 2014). In this light, therefore, the state should take a direct role in providing financial assistance to the crime victims without necessarily waiting on the offenders to make payments. This step translates into effectiveness in offering the victims with support in a timely manner to help them overcome the situations in their lives.
Lastly, the victims who suffer loss of property, wages, health stability, and loved ones experience challenges in reconnecting with their normal lives. In this case, many individuals fail to regain the previous stability in their lives after huge losses of property and experiences such as rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, assult, and sexual abuse which harm one’s mental health and psychological stability (Miers, 2014). Thus, by proving financial assistance, the state enables the crime victims to access services such as medication and treatment, counseling, conduct activities such as burial, and most importantly regain stability in life. Essentially, this appears as a social response with a compassionate action that shows the victims care and support even after experiencing challenges and losses during crimes (Karmen, 2012). As a result, victims can benefit from positive impacts such as counseling and financial support which helps them to reestablish in their lives.
Many individuals feel that the state should not engage in the provision of financial assistance for crime victim compensation. With the offenders making payments such as fines, fees, and penalties, many feel that state’s engagement is a burden to the taxpayers. At the same time, individuals feel that the state’s decision to provide financial assistance for crime victim compensation may lead to reduced and prolonged delays in the payments by offenders. However, it is the role of the state to ensure stability among its citizens after the occurrence of crime cases that significantly impact on their lives. At the same time, the state can easily trace the individual’s eligibility to obtain assistance easily while linking them to the resources allocated for that purpose. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the state to provide financial assistance to cover for the compensation of the crime victims.