(1)Existing law generally provides for the compensation of victims and derivative victims of specified types of crimes by the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board from the Restitution Fund, a continuously appropriated fund, for specified losses suffered as a result of those crimes. Existing law sets forth eligibility requirements and limits on the amount of compensation the… More
(1)Existing law generally provides for the compensation of victims and derivative victims of specified types of crimes by the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board from the Restitution Fund, a continuously appropriated fund, for specified losses suffered as a result of those crimes. Existing law sets forth eligibility requirements and limits on the amount of compensation the board may award, and requires the application for compensation to be verified under penalty of perjury. Existing law authorizes the board to recognize an authorized representative of a victim or derivative victim, including an attorney, the legal guardian, conservator, immediate family member, parent, or relative caregiver, certified victim assistance advocate, county social worker, or other persons, as specified, to represent the victim or derivative victim pursuant to rules adopted by the board.
This bill would expand the term “authorized representative” to mean any person designated by law or any person who has written authorization by the victim or derivative victim, excluding a medical or mental health provider who has provided services to the victim or derivative victim. The bill would require the initial application materials sent by the board to an applicant to be written in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, East Armenian, Tagalog, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Hmong, Khmer, Punjabi, and Lao, and further require, if the applicant selects one of these languages, the board to send all subsequent communications in that language.
(2)Existing law requires the board to verify any information it deems pertinent to an application for compensation, and requires the victim and the applicant, if other than the victim, to cooperate with the staff of the board or a victim and witness assistance center in this task. Existing law authorizes the board to reject an application solely on the basis that the victim or applicant failed to cooperate as required.
This bill would instead require the applicant to cooperate in verifying the application and would specify the circumstances under which an applicant may be found to have failed to cooperate with the board. The bill would prohibit the board from requiring an applicant to submit documentation from the Internal Revenue Service, the Franchise Tax Board, the State Board of Equalization, the Social Security Administration, or the Employment Development Department to determine eligibility for compensation, but would specifically authorize the board to require and use documentation from these entities to verify the amount of compensation for income or support loss.
(3)Existing law requires every law enforcement and social service agency in the state to provide to the board or to a contracted victim center reports involving the crime, public offense, or incident giving rise to a claim, for the specific purpose of the submission of a claim or the determination of eligibility to submit a claim.
This bill would instead require law enforcement and social service agencies to provide a complete copy of the law enforcement report and other supplemental reports and documents for the purpose of determining the eligibility of a claim.
(4)Existing law requires a victim or derivative victim seeking compensation to have sustained one or more specified physical or emotional injuries, or pecuniary losses, as a direct result of the crime. Existing law includes among those injuries emotional injury that occurred due to a violation of provisions prohibiting child abduction, as specified, if the deprivation of custody endured for 30 calendar days or more.
This bill would include among those injuries emotional injury that occurred due to a violation of provisions prohibiting publishing or disseminating via an electronic communication device personal identifying information or a digital image of another person, without consent of the other person, and for the purpose of causing that other person injury or harassment, by a 3rd party. The bill would also require, in the case of emotional injury caused by a child abduction, only that criminal charges were filed.
The bill would also include among those injuries emotional injury to a minor victim that incurred as a direct result of the nonconsensual distribution of pictures or video of sexual conduct in which the minor appears. The bill would limit compensation for this type of injury to mental health counseling for the victim, and prohibit compensation to a derivative victim in this regard.
(5)Existing law, until January 1, 2017, authorizes the board to reimburse a crime victim or derivative victim for the amount of outpatient violence peer counseling-related expenses incurred by the victim or derivative victim from, among others, a service organization for victims of violent crime, as specified, and defines the term “violence peer counselor” as a provider of formal or informal counseling services who is employed by a service organization for victims of violent crime and meets specified requirements, including, among others, that he or she possesses at least 6 months of full-time equivalent experience in providing peer support services.
This bill would specify that a service organization for victims of violent crime is a nonprofit and charitable organization instead of a nongovernmental organization. The bill would require that any peer counseling services that fall under the scope of practice of certain acts, including, among others, the Clinical Social Worker Practice Act, be performed by a licensee or a registrant of the Board of Behavioral Sciences or other appropriately licensed professional unless in an exempt setting. The bill would change the definition of “violence peer counselor” to a provider of supportive and nonpsychotherapeutic peer counseling services.
(6)Existing law requires the board to deny an application if it finds that the victim or derivative victim knowingly and willingly participated in the commission of the crime that resulted in the pecuniary loss for which compensation is being sought, except as specified.
This bill would instead authorize an application for compensation to be denied, in whole or in part, if the board finds that denial is appropriate based upon consideration of specified factors in determining the nature of the victim’s or other applicant’s involvement in the events leading to the crime, or the involvement of the person whose injury or death gives rise to the application, and specified factors that may be considered to mitigate or overcome that involvement.
(7)Existing law requires an application to be denied if the victim failed to cooperate reasonably with law enforcement in apprehending and convicting the person who committed the crime.
This bill would prohibit a victim of domestic violence from being determined to have failed to cooperate based on his or her conduct with law enforcement at the scene of the crime, and would prohibit lack of cooperation from being found solely because a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or human trafficking delayed reporting the qualifying crime. The bill would also prohibit a claim based on a sexual assault from being denied solely because a police report was not made by the victim. The bill would require the board to adopt guidelines that allow it to consider and approve applications for assistance based on a sexual assault relying upon evidence other than a police report to establish that a sexual assault crime has occurred.
(8)Existing law prohibits any person who is convicted of a felony from being granted compensation until he or she has been discharged from probation or has been released from a correctional institution, and has been discharged from parole, if any. Existing law prohibits compensation from being granted to an applicant being held in a correctional institution. Existing law prioritizes the applications of victims who are not felons over those who are felons who have been discharged from probation or have been released from a correctional institution, and have been discharged from parole.
This bill would instead prohibit any person who is convicted of a violent felony, as specified, from being granted compensation until he or she is discharged from probation or released from a correctional institution, and discharged from parole, or until he or she is discharged from postrelease community supervision or mandatory supervision. This bill would also prohibit compensation from being granted to an applicant while he or she is required to be registered as a sex offender. This bill would remove provisions prioritizing the applications of victims who are not felons.
(9)Existing law authorizes derivative victims, including parents and siblings, of a victim of a crime that directly led to the death of the victim, to be reimbursed for the expense of their outpatient mental health counseling.
This bill would include grandparents and grandchildren among those derivative victims who are eligible to be reimbursed for their mental health counseling. Because an application for reimbursement is required to be submitted under penalty of perjury, this bill would expand the definition of a crime and thus impose a state-mandated local program.
(10)Existing law limits the reimbursement amount for outpatient mental health counseling of a victim of a crime of unlawful intercourse with a minor in which a person 21 years of age or older engaged in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who was under 16 years of age to an amount not exceeding $5,000. Existing law prohibits a derivative victim of that crime from being eligible to receive reimbursement for mental health counseling expenses.
This bill would remove provisions limiting this reimbursement of a victim of a crime of unlawful intercourse with a minor, as described above, and remove provisions prohibiting a derivative victim of that crime from being eligible to receive reimbursement for mental health counseling expenses.
(11)Existing law authorizes the board to grant reimbursement for pecuniary loss of the expense of nonmedical remedial care and treatment rendered in accordance with a religious method of healing recognized by state law if it determines it will best aid the person seeking compensation.
This bill would remove this provision authorizing reimbursement for this type of care or treatment.
(12)Existing law authorizes the board to grant for pecuniary loss if it determines it will best aid the person seeking compensation reimbursement for the expense of installing or increasing residential security, if it receives verification by law enforcement that the security measures are necessary for the personal safety of the claimant or verification by a mental health treatment provider that the security measures are necessary for the emotional well-being of the claimant.
This bill would remove the provisions requiring the verification by law enforcement or a mental health treatment provider described above.
(13)Existing law also allows reimbursement for renovating or retrofitting a victim’s residence or vehicle for a victim permanently disabled by the crime, as specified.
The bill would also allow reimbursement for the purchase of a vehicle for a victim permanently disabled by the crime.
(14)Existing law authorizes the board to provide a cash payment to a victim for expenses incurred in relocating, as specified, and requires a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, who receives a relocation payment to, among other things, agree not to allow the offender on the premises at any time. Existing law also authorizes the board to provide reimbursement to any individual who voluntarily, and without anticipation of personal gain, pays or assumes the obligation to pay the reasonable costs to clean the scene of the crime inside a residence in an amount not to exceed $1,000, or a crime victim’s funeral or burial expenses, up to $7,500, as specified.
This bill would authorize the board to require a victim to repay the relocation payment or reimbursement to the board if he or she violates those terms. The bill would also require the board to be named as the recipient of funds upon the expiration of a rental agreement if a security deposit was required for a relocation.
This bill would also authorize the board to reimburse any individual who voluntarily, and without anticipation of personal gain, pays or assumes the obligation to pay the reasonable costs for a trauma scene waste practitioner to clean the scene of the crime if the crime occurred inside a vehicle. The bill would prohibit the board from creating or complying with a regulation or policy that mandates a lower maximum potential amount of an award for the compensation of a crime victim’s funeral or burial expenses than prescribed by statute.
(15)Existing law authorizes the board to pay attorney’s fees for legal services rendered to an applicant, in an amount equal to 10% of the amount of the award, or $500, whichever is less, for each victim and each derivative victim.
This bill would authorize the board to request that an attorney provide verification, and to contact an applicant to verify, that legal services were provided.
(16)Existing law requires the board to grant a hearing to an applicant who contests a staff recommendation to deny compensation. Existing law requires the board to schedule the hearing in as convenient a location as possible if the applicant’s presence is required. Existing law authorizes the board to grant no more than one request for reconsideration with respect to any one decision on an application for compensation.
This bill would also authorize the hearing to be conducted by telephone. The bill would also prohibit evidence submitted after the board has denied a request for reconsideration from being considered unless the board chooses to reconsider its decision on its own motion.
(17)Existing law provides that the board is entitled to a lien on any judgment, award, or settlement in favor of or on behalf of the recipient for losses suffered as a direct result of the crime that was the basis for receipt of compensation in the amount of the compensation granted by the board. If a claim is filed within one year of the date of recovery, the board is required to pay 25% of the amount of the recovery that is subject to a lien on the judgment, award, or settlement, to the recipient responsible for recovery thereof from the perpetrator of the crime, provided that the total amount of the lien is recovered and the remaining 75% is deposited in the Restitution Fund, a continuously appropriated fund.
This bill would instead require the board to pay 25% of the amount of the recovery that is subject to a lien on the judgment, award, or settlement, to the recipient responsible for recovery only if the recipient notified the board of the action prior to receiving any recovery with the remainder being deposited into the Restitution Fund. By increasing deposits to be made to a continuously appropriated fund, this bill would make an appropriation.
(18)Under existing law, a person who has been overpaid pursuant to these provisions governing victim compensation is liable for that amount, except as specified.
This bill would require that all actions to collect overpayments be commenced within 7 years of the date of the overpayment, except as specified. The bill would also authorize any recipient of an overpayment to contest the related staff recommendation.
(19)Existing law authorizes a private citizen, his or her surviving spouse, his or her surviving children, or a person dependent upon the citizen for his or her principal support to file a claim for indemnification, as specified, if the private citizen incurred personal injury, death, or damage to his or her property in preventing the commission of a crime, in apprehending a criminal, or rescuing a person in immediate danger of injury or death as a result of fire, drowning, or other catastrophe. Existing law defines “private citizen” for this and related provisions as a natural person except as specified.
This bill would also authorize any person who is legally liable for the citizen’s pecuniary losses to file a claim for indemnification. This bill would revise the definition of “private citizen” to mean a person, except as specified.
(20)Existing law provides that if a parolee or a prisoner owes a specified order of restitution, any moneys owing are collected from the parolee or prisoner, as specified, and transferred to the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board for direct payment to the victim. Existing law requires that the victim be paid within 60 days from the date the restitution revenues are received, however, the restitution payment need not be forwarded to that victim unless it is $50 or more, or until 180 days from the date the first payment is received, whichever occurs sooner.
This bill would provide instead that the payment need not be forwarded to the victim until it is $25 or more, or the victim requests payment of the lesser amount.
(21)Existing law requires board hearings to be informal and authorizes these hearings to not be conducted according to the technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses.
This bill would require the board to allow a service animal to accompany and support a witness while testifying at a board hearing.
(22)Existing law requires the court to order a person who is convicted of a crime to pay restitution to the victim or victims for the full amount of economic loss, unless the court finds compelling and extraordinary reasons for not doing so and states them on the record. Existing law provides the defendant the right to a hearing before a judge to dispute the determination of the amount of restitution and authorizes the court to modify the amount of restitution.
This bill would authorize a victim at a restitution or modification hearing to testify by live, 2-way audio and video transmission, if that type of transmission is available at the court.
(23)The bill would make other conforming and nonsubstantive changes.
(24)By expanding the authorizations for use of moneys in the Restitution Fund, a continuously appropriated fund, this bill would make an appropriation.
(25)The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.