(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today joined State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) to announce a new bill that would update laws intended to help victims of crime and their families. The measure, SB322, would increase the accessibility of crime victims’ funds and increase the amount certain victims can receive.
“Too often when a crime is committed, others besides the victim are unintentionally harmed. This measure would acknowledge that those who witness a crime or are involved in the immediate aftermath suffer trauma as well,” said Attorney General DeWine. “This measure helps those victims heal, as well, by providing funds for mental health treatment or work loss.”
“This legislation would provide necessary reforms to ensure crime victims and their families receive support efficiently, effectively, and true to their needs,” said Senator Lehner. “I am proud to work with the Attorney General’s office to continue to strengthen our crime victims reparation program which already does so much to provide relief in the midst of tragedy.”
This measure would:
Recognize a new category of the victim which would include a person who is not the direct victim of a crime, but experiences severe trauma and is either:
- a family member of the victim;
- witness to the crime;
- someone who arrives at the crime scene in the immediate aftermath; or
- an immediate family member and caretaker of a dependent victim of sexual assault.
Someone who meets these guidelines would be a “victim in their own right” and could qualify for up to $15,000 for wages lost due to treatment and counseling.
- Increase the maximum claim an immediate family member of a crime victim could receive to $5,000 for counseling services.
- Allow someone to file a claim regardless of their criminal history if they are filing on behalf of a minor victim as a parent or guardian.
- Increase the accessibility of funds for victims by reducing the lookback period for criminal disqualification from 10 years to five years. However, this bill would defer payment of any person until the individual had fully completed their sentence.
The text of the bill is available on the Ohio General Assembly website.
For more information about the Crime Victims Compensation Fund and other services available for crime victims and victims service providers visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website at http://www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Individuals-and-Families/Victims.