Three new Illinois laws will help strengthen the rights of crime victims and their families.
House Bill 5187 will require law enforcement to give crime victims a written copy of their rights within 48 hours of first contact as well as let them know of any assistance they may be eligible for under the Crime Victims Compensation Act. Victims' rights must now also be posted outside all criminal courtrooms in the state. One of the rights included is guaranteed notification of when an offender is released from state custody or committed to a mental health facility. The law will go into effect on January 1.
Compensation is broadened for victims and their families through Senate Bill 3693. The bill provides spousal counseling services and adds additional violent crimes that could be eligible for restitution. Payments can also be authorized to non-family or non-immediate family members who have made initial payments for medical care and other expenses. The bill also gives a new maximum award of $1,250 for replacement services, $7,000 for funeral and burial expenses, and $1,250 for loss of earnings. SB 3693 will go into effect on January 1.
Senate Bill 3602 improves how fines are calculated and contributed to the Violence Crime Victims Assistance Fund by changing contributions from a percentage to a flat fee, ensuring that the VCVAF receives the contributions it needs to help support victims across the state. The law takes effect immediately.
For more information on the Crime Victim Compensation Program, call the Office of the Illinois Attorney General at 1-800-228-3368 or visit the program's website.