Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by legislators, community leaders and crime victims as he signed three new laws to increase assistance for crime victims and their families. The measures signed today will strengthen crime victims' rights, ensure that victims know their rights under Illinois law, and simplify the process for awarding victim compensation in Illinois. The governor signed the legislation to help crime victims as part of his commitment to increase public safety in Illinois.
"As we continue working to reduce crime in Illinois, we want to ensure that any victim of a crime has the support they need," Governor Quinn said. "These measures will help victims receive emotional and financial peace of mind while recovering from a crime."
House Bill 5187, sponsored by Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan) and Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), increases the rights of crime victims by requiring law enforcement to provide a written copy of victim rights within 48 hours of their first contact. Law enforcement will also be required to explain the assistance that victims may be eligible for under the Crime Victims Compensation Act. In addition, the law directs these rights to be posted outside any criminal courtroom in Illinois. Among the rights included is guaranteed notification to victims when an offender is committed to a mental health facility or leaves state custody. The law is supported by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, Illinois Coalitions Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, and the Offices of the Illinois Attorney General and the State's Attorney of Cook County.
Senate Bill 3693, sponsored by Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) broadens compensation for victims and their families by providing for spousal counseling services, adding additional violent crimes that could be eligible for restitution and authorizing payments to non-family or nonimmediate family members who make initial payments for medical care and other expenses. The law also streamlines payment procedures to address a time lapse between the crime, a trial and medical procedures, and provides a new maximum award of $1,250 for replacement services, $7,000 for funeral and burial expenses and $1,250 for loss of earnings. HB 5187 and SB 3693 take affect January 1.
Senate Bill 3602, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago), improves the way fines are calculated and contributed to the Violence Crime Victims Assistance Fund (VCVAF). The measure streamlines the procedure for determining fund contributions by changing it from a percentage of the fine to a simple, flat fee. The law will ensure that the VCVAF receives the consistent contributions it needs to support victims and their families across Illinois in the aftermath of a crime. SB 3602 takes effect immediately.
For more information about crime victim rights and the Crime Victim Compensation Program, call the Office of Illinois Attorney General at 1-800-228-3368 or visit online at http://www.ag.state.il.us/victims/cvc.html