PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today signed legislation to strengthen the Crime Victim Compensation Fund.
"The Crime Victim Compensation Fund serves Rhode Islanders at their most vulnerable," Raimondo said. "As Treasurer, I worked to support crime victims and their families, and I am proud to see that Treasurer Seth Magaziner has continued this advocacy."
Bills S 2762 Sub A aa and H 7538 Sub A aa will allow residents of Rhode Island who are victims of terrorist acts outside the state but within the United States to be eligible to apply to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund. Bills S 2750 Sub A and H 7533 Sub A will increase the compensation a crime victim may receive for eligible burial and relocation costs under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act. All four bills are supported by Treasurer Magaziner.
"Our federal, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies work vigilantly to prevent terrorism. In the tragic event that a Rhode Islander once again becomes the victim of domestic terrorism, we have changed the law to make certain they will be eligible for compensation," Magaziner said. "At the same time, we are enhancing our ability to support victims of domestic violence during their time of need. I thank Governor Raimondo and the General Assembly for their support of this important legislation."
Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed sponsored S 2762 Sub A aa, and Rep. David Coughlin sponsored H 7538 Sub A aa, both expanding eligibility for the Crime Victim Compensation Fund.
"Rhode Islanders who are victims of terrorism outside of the United States are eligible for compensation through the fund," Paiva Weed said. "This legislation ensures the language of the law is consistent with the intent. It makes it absolutely clear that Rhode Islanders who are victims of terrorism outside of the state but within the United States would be eligible for compensation."
"Domestic terrorism is an ever-present danger to our citizens and this new law will offer some relief should the worst happen to one of our Rhode Island residents," Coughlin said. "My hope is that this new law will afford unfortunate Rhode Island victims of these heinous acts the help they need to overcome the terror and piece back together their disrupted lives."
Sen. Hanna Gallo sponsored S 2750 Sub A, and Rep. Christopher Blazejewski sponsored H 7533 Sub A, both increasing compensation a crime victim may receive. The portion of the legislation that will increase relocation compensation is expected to significantly impact victims of domestic violence and their families.
"Now that we've been taking a closer look at the victim's compensation fund, it's important to make sure that the money allocated to victims is a fair amount," Gallo said. "Eight thousand dollars just isn't enough for funeral expenses anymore. Also, it's a sad reality that relocation is often the only option for victims of domestic violence. This adjustment in compensation will go a long way in helping those families out."
"Victims of domestic violence and their families must often relocate for their own safety, and these additional funds will go a long way toward providing further assistance and peace of mind," Blazejewski said. "In the tragic cases where a death occurs due to violent crime, increasing the burial expense compensation is most appropriate and simply the right thing to do."