The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $303,669.16 to victims of crime in May. Awards were made in 179 new cases, with additional expenses paid in 14 previously submitted cases.
Victims of violent crime in Arkansas may be eligible for compensation from the state’s Crime Victims Reparations Program to help defray unexpected expenses related to the crime. Victims are eligible for reimbursement for such expenses as medical treatment or mental health counseling. The Attorney General’s office administers the program.
Three residents of Van Buren County were among those receiving reparations; the total of all three was $1,175.20.
The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board determines which claims are eligible for payment and how much money will be awarded to each claimant. Members of the Crime Victims Reparations Board are Dr. Janice Church, Bryce Brewer and Alex Finger, all of Little Rock, Colleen Nick of Alma and Louis Jones of Fayetteville.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced that he has informed crime victims’ advocates about potential funding issues in fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1. Crime victims’ claims are funded both through state appropriations and a federal grant from the Department of Justice. The federal grant for fiscal year 2014 has not yet been received, and it is not expected until sometime in September, McDaniel said in a letter to victim assistance coordinators, hospitals and others.
McDaniel said the fiscal year 2013 federal grant had also been delayed because of last year’s federal budget sequestration. Because of that, the program has relied more heavily on state funds to pay claims, even as state funding has been temporarily reduced. Based on current budget projections, the Crime Victims Reparations Board may be forced to reduce claims or delay payments in the 2015 fiscal year, he said.