Find Free NJ Legal Information

Welcome to the LSNJLAWSM website, provided by Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ). LSNJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering free civil legal assistance to low-income people in New Jersey. Find legal information by clicking on a legal topic or typing a few words into the search box.

LAW Home > Legal Topics > Victims of Crime > Human Trafficking

VCCO Regulations Address the Unique Needs of Trafficking Victims



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.

  • The definition of the term “victim” when “injured” was expanded to include “personal” and  “psychological” injury in addition to “physical” injury.

  • The types of claims and the timeframes for filing a claim were expanded to give crime victims more opportunities to seek reimbursement. 

  • More minor offenses such as simple assault and disorderly conduct are eligible for compensation. 

  • Claims can no longer be denied due to a crime victim’s prior history of criminal convictions or outstanding fines, restitution, or warrants. 
  • The burden of proof for eligibility of a claim was lowered to credible evidence (which means evidence that is more likely to be believed). 

  • The time for all adult crime victims over age 18 to file a claim was extended from three years to five years after the date of the incident. When the victim is under 18, the five-year filing limit begins the day the victim turns 18.

  • In child sex abuse cases, the time to file was also extended to five years after reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the abuse. 

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. ​