Since coming into office, my team has made a number of important improvements to this program, including passing impactful legislation and streamlining claims processing.
One of my legislative priorities this General Assembly session was to strengthen the program by adding relocation expenses, up to $2,500.
This simple, but meaningful amendment that may help a victim of a violent crime rebuild their lives starts by finding them a new place to call home or helping them travel to loved ones for protection.
The idea to add relocation expenses came from our community partners who are on the front lines of our neighborhoods 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Thanks to the work of agencies like the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, SOAR RI and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, we are strengthening an important program.
And thanks to the support of General Assembly members, we are demonstrating that government can come together to work for people when they are most vulnerable.
In the House, Providence Rep. Anastasia Williams introduced the bill that was co-sponsored by Speaker Gordon Fox of Providence, Rep. Joy Hearn of Barrington/East Providence, Rep. Eileen Naughton of Warwick and Rep. Edith Ajello of Providence.
In the Senate, the proposal was introduced by North Providence/Pawtucket Senator Donna Nesselbush and was co-sponsored by Sen. Susan Sosnowski of South Kingstown/New Shoreham, Sen. Elizabeth Crowley of Central Falls/Pawtucket, Sen. Hanna Gallo of Cranston and Sen. Gayle Goldin of Providence.
This legislation will change lives, and could quite possibly save them. By government coming together to work with community leaders, we are finding solutions to keep families safe.
Since 2011, my office eliminated a 900-case backlog dating back to 2007. Also in 2011, we made our first set of legislative amendments allowing for emergency compensation for burial and crime scene clean-up expenses.
Established in 1972, the Crime Victim Compensation Program helps innocent victims with the many costs associated with violent crimes. The program may cover expenses related to medical bills and loss of earnings up to $25,000. In Fiscal Year 2012, 422 Rhode Island families were awarded more than 1,300 payments totaling $1.9 million.
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury from a violent crime, the CVCP may be able to help. Please contact our office today or visit treasury.ri.gov and click on the Crime Victims Compensation Program link.
- Gina M. Raimondo
Rhode Island General Treasurer