Victim’s compensation programs across the country offer financial assistance to victims of violent crime. Crime victim’s compensation aims to alleviate the financial burden and costs of violence and trauma. Although no amount of money can erase the trauma and grief a victim and their family suffers, victim’s comp can be crucial in the aftermath. With financial assistance, survivors and their families can pay for care to restore a survivor’s physical and mental health, replace lost income, and much more. Victims and families of victims of drunk driving, homicide, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other violent crimes are all eligible to apply for financial help. Every state has a victim’s compensation program, though each one operates under different state laws. However, all compensation programs have the same basic criteria for eligibility. Generally the survivor must:
- Report the crime promptly to law enforcement and cooperate with police and prosecutors; however, there are some state exceptions
- Submit a timely victim’s compensation application
- Have a cost or loss not covered by insurance or another government benefit program
- Not have committed a criminal act themselves during the crime that caused the original crime
Arrest or conviction of the perpetrator is not required in order to be eligible to apply for victim’s comp. It’s the responsibility of law enforcement and individuals working with survivors to inform them of their opportunity to apply for victim’s compensation programs, however some agencies might not include victim’s comp as a resource. It is important for survivors to know the different resources provided for recovery. Low-income survivors are in a particular disadvantage when their sexual assault results in large financial burdens. Victim’s comp is one option for low-income survivors to alleviate some of the costs of rape and restoring their mental and physical health.
Under Title IX, schools are required to cover some of the expenses a student might incur after an assault such as medical and counseling services — though, some colleges and universities may have different forms in which they provide these benefits. Some schools offer an on campus victim’s compensation program for students, others directly cover expenses through its insurance, while others give loans which require repayment. Some schools that offer victim’s compensation and loans are:
UC Berkeley – Emergency Loan
Stanford University – Graduate Emergency Loan
For more information on victim’s compensation programs near you, please visit the Office for Victims of Crime.
Outside of the costs of lost tuition, financial aid, and student loans, there are many other expenses that may be essential for a survivor to continue their education. These such costs could be for counseling, tutoring, medical services, etc. In these cases, in order to fulfil their responsibilities under Title IX, schools are required to make appropriate accommodations for survivors without the burden of additional financial costs.
If you’re a survivor who requires additional academic support in order to continue accessing education after experiencing sexual violence, you should not be required to to pay for these services. Under Title IX*, if your school knows or reasonably should know of sexual violence occurring, then you have a right to receive academic accommodations so that you can continue your education. Thus, your school should provide you certain academic support, such as counseling or tutoring, free of charge.
Some examples of academic support that schools should not charge you for might include:
- Medical services related to the assault
- Counseling services
- Enforcing No Contact Orders so that perpetrators and their friends do not retaliate against a survivor
- Changing residence halls so that you are not forced to live with your perpetrator(s)
- Changing classes so that you are not forced to attend classes with your perpetrator(s)
- Allowing you to withdraw or receive incompletes for classes without negative marks to your transcripts or academic record
- Allowing survivors to retake courses without penalties
- Providing academic support such as tutoring or notifying your professors to be lenient with deadlines
- Having campus security escort you around campus if your perpetrator retaliates and/or stalks you after your report
These are just a few examples of ways schools can support survivors academically. If your school refuses to adequately accommodate your academic needs look into filing a Title IX complaint and speaking with an attorney. For more information please visit End Rape on Campus’s website.
For more information regarding the challenges low-income survivors face relating to finances after sexual violence, visit these websites:
Hope and Power for Your Personal Finances: A Rebuilding Guide Following Domestic Violence is designed for women who are leaving or still in abusive relationships to regain control of their finances by the National Endowment for Financial Education and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Also available in Spanish.
Wise Up Women is a resource for financial planning for Generation X and Y women, and provides online resources for people in higher education, young adults, women, those with student loan debt, and more.
Financial Aid, scholarships, and resources for students of color is a resource for African American, Latinx, Asian American, Native American, and undocumented students. It includes scholarship application tips, links to grants and funds for women of color and other students.
LGBTQ Students and College Affordability is a resource guide for LGBTQ students to assess a school’s programs, inclusivity, and search for scholarships to help make the transition to college easier for LGBTQ students.
Scholarships for students with disabilities is a list of scholarships for people with different disabilities including physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, veterans, and people with disabled parents. This guide also shares information about loan forgiveness, vocational rehabilitation services, and other financial aid resources for people with disabilities.
Resources for online students is a guide for online students to learn how to navigate financial aid, scholarships and tips on managing student debt.