NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — April 24-30 is National Crime Victims' Rights Week, and in recognition of that, the Tennessee Department of Treasury announced that its Criminal Injuries Compensation Program has paid more than $344 million to victims over the past 40 years. The program was begun in 1982.
For tens of thousands of innocent victims of violent crimes, there are inherent expenses incurred that, often, they are not readily equipped to pay. Medical bills, lost wages, loss of support to financial dependents and mental health are just some of these. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Program was established to help.
“This is a fund of last resort,” State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. said. “One would hope to never be a victim, but we all know bad things do happen. When you have no other means, please know there may be help with this program, as evidenced by the millions of dollars paid out of this fund to victims over the past four decades.”
Money in the fund can also help with cleaning the crime scene, if it occurred in a victim's home, or to assist in funeral expenses if the victim died from the crime.
Ineligible expenses include rent or utility bills, travel to doctor appointments or costs from identity theft, fraud or insurance.
The fund's money comes from fines, penalties and fees paid by criminals to state and federal courts.
2022 National Crime Victims' Rights Week has chosen the theme "rights, access, equity for all victims," chosen to spotlight the goal of helping all victims forge new healing pathways.
In 2020, about 1.6 million people were reported to be victims of violent crime, excluding simple assault. This marks a significant decrease from 2019 according to the most recent National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
For more information about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program, interested parties are encouraged to visit the Tennessee Treasury website.