Violent crime reports in major Ohio cities have decreased in the past two years, but victims of certain violent attacks still could seek compensation for the losses they incurred because of the crimes.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office offers the Crime Victims Compensation Program which allows people who are victims of violent crimes to apply for compensation to help with various costs associated with the crimes.
In Ohio, violence crimes are offenses that are taken seriously. The broad term can include burglary, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, domestic violence and murder. Those who become victims of those crimes can have several long-term effects, including medical bills, lost wages and counseling.
According to WBNS-10TV in Columbus, the office fulfilled more than 3,300 requests last year, paying an average of $2,700 per claim. The maximum total payments are limited to $50,000, according to the Ohio Attorney General's website, and several expenses have caps.
This program is designed to help victims regain control of their lives after an unfortunate event. The program can help cover the costs crime scene clean up for personal security, replacing of items used as evidence and replacing of clothing damages as a result of medical treatment.
Medical-related expenses, including hearing aids, eyeglasses, dental appliances, walkers, wheelchairs or other mobility equipment also could be covered by the program. If a person qualifies, he or she also could receive funding for counseling for immediate family members of victims and if necessary funeral and burial costs.
However, there are guidelines to determine who is eligible. Victims who are injured as a result of a violent crime or claimants responsible for the victim's expenses, such as parents or guardians, could be eligible to receive a payment. In some situations, dependents of homicide victims could be eligible for the program.
If the victim has a felony conviction or a child endangerment or domestic violence conviction within 10 years prior to the crime or while the crime is pending, he or she may not be eligible. In addition, if a person does not report the crime or refuses to cooperate with law enforcement, he or she may not be eligible for compensation.
Payments through the program cannot be made for pain and suffering or for stolen, damaged or lost property. In addition, the Attorney General's Office will not pay victims for expenses that can be covered by other sources, such as medical bills that can be covered by insurance.
There have been changes to the programs in recent years, including removing the prior requirement in which victims had to apply to the program within two years of the crime. Now, there is no limitation and the victim can apply any time after the occurrence of the crime.
For more information about the Ohio Attorney General's Crime Victims Compensation Program, visit the Ohio Attorney General's website.