In addition to assisting people with access to resources that help them build strength and resiliency, the Vegas Strong Resiliency Center recognizes the lasting financial impacts that come with surviving a violent crime.
Beyond physical and mental trauma, violent crime can leave victims and their families with needs for services and with uncompensated bills, such as bills for medical, counseling, and funeral services. Victims often have a need to replace lost wages from missing work to receive services or expenses related to participating in the criminal justice system. Lasting disability can create long-term or permanent loss of support for the family because of the crime. There may be a number of other financial consequences of the crime, such as the need to avoid repeat victimization.
That is why we wanted to share information on state victims of crime compensation programs and provide some basic information about what Nevada’s program offers ahead of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 24–30, 2022).
Rights, Access, and Equity for All Victims
Traditionally, our criminal justice system focuses on the perpetrators of crime, and while accountability is critically important, the needs of those impacted by crime have usually come second. In response, a crime victims’ movement began to coalesce in the 1960s, with volunteer groups and the founding of state-led compensation programs to provide direct assistance to victims. The earliest compensation program was created in 1965 in California, with Nevada following close behind, forming the Nevada Victims of Crime Program (VOCP) in 1969.
The VOCP continues to this day thanks to passage of the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and subsequent advocacy and legislation. Nevada operates a compensation program that can provide up to $35,000 in direct benefits to victims of violent crime. The state’s program receives 75% of its funding from the federal government (VOCA) and the other 25% comes from fines, penalties, and costs imposed by Nevada’s courts as well as court-ordered restitution, prisoner wage deductions, bail bond assessments, and forfeitures. No tax dollars are involved.
Who and What Is Covered
In order to be eligible, an applicant:
- Is a victim (a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, financial, or psychological harm as a result of the commission of a crime, which resulted in personal injury).
- Reports the crime to the police, child protective services, or other law enforcement agency within five days of the crime, unless the victim is physically or mentally unable to (NRS 217.100).
- Applies to the VOCP within 24 months of the crime unless waived for good cause.
Each claim has a maximum amount of up to $35,000, with different categories having separate maximums. The VOCP has discretion to increase benefits to avoid a hardship.
- Medical, dental, and vision care as a direct result of the crime: $35,000
- Chiropractic treatment and physical therapy: $5,000
- Prescription medication: $6,000 (up to six months after crime, unless further time is authorized)
- Counseling and mental health services: $5,000 (paid at an internal fee schedule)
- Crime scene clean up: $5,000
- Home security: $1,500 (includes self-defense courses but not weapons or guard dogs)
- Childcare expenses: $2,500
- COBRA/insurance premium payments: $2,000
- Towing and impound Fees: $2,500
- Home health care: $350 (per week, up to three weeks)
- Funeral and burial expenses: $5,000
- Discretionary authority: $500 (for items not specifically mentioned)
- Lost wages: Up to 100% of the victim’s gross pay, up to a maximum of $350 per week, not to exceed 52 weeks, or up to a maximum of $18,200. Can include loss of support to dependents.
- Can be used to supplement disability payments
- Relocation expenses: $2,500
- If in immediate danger of re-victimization (unless waived by director for good cause) or for accessibility
VOCP payments are not reportable as taxable income. Acceptance of payment from the VOCP constitutes payment in full (providers cannot balance bill). The state of Nevada can receive reimbursement on any recoveries by a crime victim resulting from lawsuits, restitution, insurance, social security, or other payments (can be waived by the VOCP).
The VOCP cannot pay for the following crime-related expenses:
- Expenses for lost or stolen property or cash
- Property damage
- Any expense not directly related to the crime
- Any expense payable by insurance or any other source
- Damages for pain and suffering
The Path to Compensation and Resiliency
Currently, the VOCP only provides paper applications that require applicants’ physical signatures. Electronic submissions will be accepted soon.
Victims of Crime Program
6171 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Resiliency Center is incredibly well versed and happy to assist with applications and navigating the appeal process if there are any issues with a VOCP claim. If an issue does arise with a VOCP claim, please contact us. We have been massively successful in making systemic changes and advocating for approved benefits. Feel free to call 702-455-2433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.