The concept of crime victims` assistance programs in America began in mid 1970’s. It provides for fair treatment of crime victims by law institutions. Crime victims should cope with the realization that this new field in the justice system is important. However, the idea if assisting crime victims has lacked proper attention due to the absence of professionalism or individuals with special training to deal with compensation of victims of crime (Hentig, 1948). Currently many institutions across America have adopted Victims` compensation programs in their systems. For instance, The Alabama Crimes Victims` ‘Law provides a basis of providing a timely and efficient compensation to innocent victims of violent crime in a confidential manner. Eligible victims may be provided assistance to cater for qualified expenses. It takes a good decision that innocent victims of crime have the right to be accorded fair treatment with compassion and respect. The Alabama CrimesVictims` Law advocates for the rights of innocent victims in a number of ways.
Innocent crime victims may be eligible for compensation if a crime is reported to the law enforcement within 72 hours, and in situations, where there is a good cause that can be provided for not doing so. Compensation in forms of financial assistance may be given victims of innocent crime if the claim is filled within one year of the date of the incident, unless there are genuine reasons, which must be written down for not doing so. Victims, who suffer injuries or death due to the result of the criminal act, are also eligible for compensation. The Alabama Criminal Victims` Law assists victims of crime, who cooperate with the Law enforcement officials, the prosecutor's office, the Law enforcement courts, and the Alabama Crime Victims` Compensation Commission on criminal acts. If the victim is found innocent by not provoking, inciting, or willingly participating in a criminal activity, hence, a victim of crime is eligible for compensation. Furthermore, if a crime suspect did not contribute to victimization in any way, or in a situation, whereby the presence of the victim in United States of America was unlawful. This also applies to claimants or crime victims, who are certified by the federal authorities as victims involved in acts of human trafficking, are also considered eligible for compensation. Finally, innocent victims of domestic violence are also eligible for compensation as provided by the Alabama Victims` Crime Law. Emergency awards are provided for cases that are in dire economic need that results from violent crime victimization.
Compensation may be awarded for medical expenses, in addition, crime victims may be awarded 100% reimbursement for medical expenses that he should pay from his own pocket. Other expenses may include rehabilitation expenses that include vocational or physical therapy, in case they are not covered with another source. Counseling expenses may also be covered including payments made to counselor, psychologist or may be paid in the form of fees counseling services that are not related to victimization. It is necessary to have the phone numbers of officers handling victim’s cases, since it is essential in handling of court costs. It Court clerks are responsible to maintain accurate records reflecting the amounts due the commission for deposit into the crimes victims’ compensation fund. Compensation is provided to the victims of crime due to work loss. This covers the victim’s or claimants pay for a specified period of time of absenteeism from work due to a criminal act. Victims of crime may also obtain funeral expenses as compensation. Financial assistance includes expenses incurred at the funeral homes, cremation expenses, burial expenses covering monuments (Alabama Crimes Victims Compensation Commission, 2011).
The AlabamaCrime Victims` Law also providesfor allocation of property expenses, which may be awarded for eligible property that is confiscated by law enforcers as evidence, or propert that is damaged during the time of victimization. It is important to have the name, and the phone number of the prosecuting attorney to provide details of items that may be compensated (Alabama Crimes Victims Compensation Commission, 2011).
Other expenses that are compensated include moving expenses, such as security deposits, utility deposits and other costs to move. However, rent expenses are not included, but may be considered in extreme conditions, in which the victim may be an imminent physical danger and when the crime act occurred at home. Compensations may also be provided on the basis of future economic loss. These are the future or additional expenses or loss to a victim or those who depend on the victim. These conditions must be justified, and their calculation must be clarified. In addition, other expenses include replacement service loss, which covers the expenses a claimant may have not incurred, if the victim lived. Finally, the Alabama Crime Victims` Law providesfor guardianship fee, which covers reimbursement, for legal charges to obtain guardianship of people with a disability or a minor, in case the guardianship fee is awarded.
In conclusion, the compensations are provided by following the procedural steps provided by the Alabama Crime Victims` Law, the availability of the victim’s compensation benefits. The Law provides a listing of a victim’s right that includes a form to ensure that a victim is accorded the rights. It also provides for the existence and eligibility requirements of restitution as well as compensation. If an individual is faced with threats or intimidation as a victim, the rights of a victim include all the criminal proceedings and charges that are filed against a defendant, with the exception of the first appearance and the right to be available during court proceedings. These also include vital information from relevant agencies, an explanation of the pre-sentence report, time and place, and information regarding return of property. A crime victim has the right to know the date of conviction, and any vital information regarding the result of any post conviction appeal. In addition, a victim of crime has the right to know any vital information regarding collection of restitution. A successful crime victim for compensation should be notified of any pardon or parole Board hearing and the victim’s right to be available during hearings.