State victims panel looks to modernize its criteria for approving claims

The statewide panel charged with helping California’s crime victims get back on their feet is taking a hard look in the mirror.

During two meetings scheduled this week, including one on Thursday in Sacramento, the California Victim Compensation Program was expected to solicit public input for a project that aims to modernize the agency’s criteria for deciding which victims are worth helping.

On December 2013, the program’s voting board scrapped a 14-year-old policy that prevented victimized sex workers from receiving recovery assistance, even in proven cases of rape, following a yearlong campaign by sex workers’ groups and an SN&R cover story.

“It’s time to take this action and eliminate laws that are outdated or simply have not kept pace with changing attitudes or needs,” CalVCP executive officer Julie Nauman said in a release. “Through this modernization project, we will eliminate those laws and statutes that no longer make sense and do not serve the interests of victims of crime in California.”

Currently, the state disqualifies validated gang members and those who are involved in the underlying crime from obtaining assistance, which can help with medical and relocation costs, among other things.

A public forum was scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday, August 14, at CalVCP’s headquarters at 400 R Street in Sacramento.

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