Three new laws aim to increase assistance for crime victims and their families. The measures signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn will strengthen crime victims' rights, ensure that victims know their rights under Illinois law, and simplify the process for awarding victim compensation in Illinois.
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“As we continue working to reduce crime in Illinois, we want to ensure that any victim of a crime has the support they need,” Quinn said. “These measures will help victims receive emotional and financial piece of mind while recovering from a crime.” House Bill 5187 increases the rights of crime victims by requiring law enforcement to provide a written copy of victim rights within 48 hours of their first contact. Law enforcement will also be required to explain the assistance that victims may be eligible for under the Crime Victims Compensation Act.
Senate Bill 3693 broadens compensation for victims and their families by providing for spousal counseling services, adding additional violent crimes that could be eligible for restitution and authorizing payments to non-family or non-immediate family members who make initial payments for medical care and other expenses. The law also streamlines payment procedures to address a time lapse between the crime, a trial and medical procedures, and provides a new maximum award of $1,250 for replacement services, $7,000 for funeral and burial expenses and $1,250 for loss of earnings.
Senate Bill 3602 improves the way fines are calculated and contributed to the Violent Crime Victims Assistance Fund (VCVAF). The measure streamlines the procedure for determining fund contributions by changing it from a percentage of the fine to a simple flat fee.