Bonta Bill to modernize the state victim compensation program ok’d

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AB 1140 protects victims of domestic violence, children, rehabilitated individuals, and victims of online crime

Rob Bonta (Photo courtesy of http://asmdc.org/)

Rob Bonta (Photo courtesy of http://asmdc.org/)

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) announced today that his bill to modernize the California Victim Compensation Program passed the Assembly with strong bipartisan support (78-0).

“AB 1140 modernizes the California Victim Compensation Program to more fairly care for victimized children and adults in California,” explained Bonta.

The California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (board) administers the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) to compensate victims of specific types of crimes through the Restitution Fund. Existing law sets forth the various eligibility requirements and limits on the amount of compensation the CalVCP may award.

Bonta explained that the bill contains balanced and common-sense changes to what is considered an outdated program. “The CalVCP framework was developed several decades ago and has not been thoroughly revised since that time. To address some of the outdated restrictions and the need to modernize the program, the board conducted a Statute Modernization Project, bringing together various stakeholders to make recommendations on updating the program to better serve victims. AB 1140 implements many of those stakeholder recommendations, including several intended to soften restrictions preventing victims of domestic violence and persons on probation or parole from fully participating in the program.”

For example, current law restricts compensation to persons on probation or parole and those who have participated in a crime that resulted in their injuries. AB 1140 would delete those restrictions and allow compensation unless the person is on probation or parole for a violent crime or is a sex offender and allow compensation to those who participated in a crime unless the crime was a felony. Current law restricts compensation of victims of domestic violence if the victim fails to cooperate with law enforcement or report the assault in a timely fashion. AB 1140 would update the law to comport with current understandings of domestic violence and the many reasons a victim may not immediately report or cooperate.

To keep up with changing crimes and technology, the bill would include online harassment as a compensable crime and allow compensation to a minor who sustains emotional injury as a direct result of the distribution of pictures or video of sexual conduct.

“AB 1140 makes the program stronger, is reflective of a collaborative effort of all stakeholder groups, and will make California better able to meet the needs of crime victims,” Bonta concluded.

The bill is supported by the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, Policy Link, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, the Alameda County District Attorney, YouthALIVE!, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and the Crime Victims Action Alliance. There is no opposition.

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. Bonta Chairs the Assembly Health Committee; the Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee; and the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. He is also a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, Joint Legislative Budget, and Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.

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