The Michigan House has approved a multi-bill plan Rep. Bradley Slagh helped introduce to give crime victims who have endured mental or emotional injury the opportunity to better access compensation, giving them the chance to fully heal.
Slagh, of Zeeland, worked with Rep. Bronna Kahle, of Adrian, and others on the plan.
Crime victims often incur exorbitant costs when trying to rebuild their lives, but Slagh believes the Crime Victims Compensation program currently does not do enough to benefit victims and their families during traumatic times. He also believes the system should be easier to access and navigate.
“We can’t underestimate the toll that mental and emotional trauma has on the lives and wellbeing of crime victims,” said Slagh, of Zeeland. “Returning to their jobs, families and the lives they once knew can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, if those traumas are not appropriately addressed.”
Slagh and Kahle’s plan amends the state’s Crime Victims Compensation act to expand the people and expenses that are eligible for compensation under the act.
In addition to expanding the fund to those who have sustained emotional and mental injuries, their plan:
- Extend the timeframe to file a claim from one year to five years and allow a personal representative to make a claim on the victim’s behalf.
- Increase the age by which a minor may make a claim for criminal sexual conduct from 19 to 28 years of age. Claims could be made beyond 28 years of age if good cause can be shown for the delay.
- Allow for electronic submission of claims.
- Remove the requirement to report a crime to police within 48 hours to be eligible for funding.
- Require a claimant to repay an award for an expense covered under the act if they received payment from a person who committed the crime, insurance, or other public funds not including disability or death benefits paid to a police or corrections employee.
The plan now moves to the Senate for further consideration.