2021 amendments to the Victims of Crime Compensation Office (VCCO) program make it easier for victims to access needed assistance and create a special subsection for addressing claims involving human trafficking. Below are highlights of the changes that may help trafficking victims.
There were several important changes regarding interaction with law enforcement. Besides reporting the crime to police in order to file a claim, victims can now also report to “other appropriate law enforcement authorities.” An additional reason for good cause to delay reporting is that a victim or family member was not properly informed of VCCO benefits.
Additional compelling reasons for noncooperation in the prosecution of an offender now include, but are not limited to, “traumatic stress, fear of retribution, fear of law enforcement or mental health crises.”
Crime victims may now appear at a hearing virtually, and, although hearings are usually open to the public, the office can close the hearing if it is in the best interest and safety of the victim.
If the victim is unable to relocate, the $3,000 allocated to a crime victim for moving expenses can now be used for other items needed to protect the victim’s health or safety.
An entire new subsection was added specifically for human trafficking victims, to provide additional compensation for expenses incurred because of their victimization. Expenses include, but are not limited to, record expungements, name changes, Social Security number changes, and out-of-state relocation.
This information last reviewed: Feb 9, 2022