To be eligible for compensation, a person must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death. For certain crimes, emotional injury alone is all that needs to be shown. Certain family members or other loved ones who suffer an economic loss resulting from an injury to, or death of, a victim of a crime may also be eligible for compensation.
The Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) can help victims and family members of victims for crimes such as:
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse
- Sexual assault
- Drunk driving
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Human trafficking
In addition to being the victim of a qualifying violent crime, applicants must meet other criteria, including:
- Generally, they must report the crime to the police, sheriff, child protective services, or some other law enforcement agency.
- In most cases, they must apply to CalVCP within three years of the time the crime happened. If applying after three years, they can inform CalVCP in writing why the application is late, and an extension of the time limit may be granted for certain reasons. In most cases, if the victim was under 18 when the crime happened, they have until the victim's 21st birthday to apply. If the specified crime involves sex with a minor, claims may be filed any time prior to the victim’s 28th birthday.
An application for compensation can be filed within three years of the date of the crime, three years after the victim's 18th birthday, or three years of the time the victim knew or could have discovered that an injury or death had been sustained as a direct result of crime, whichever is later.
- Applicants/victims must cooperate with law enforcement during the investigation and prosecution of the crime. Also, a victim cannot have participated in or been involved in committing the crime.
- Applicants/victims must cooperate with CalVCP by providing the information needed to review the application.
Minors who suffer emotional injuries from witnessing a violent crime may be eligible for up to $5,000 in mental health counseling through CalVCP. A law that went into effect in 2009 allows the minor witness to be eligible for assistance even if he or she is unrelated to the crime victim. To qualify, the minor witness must have been in close proximity to the crime.