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Civil Justice Practitioners

Financial Stability

Lost wages, weakened worker productivity, the cost of health care and counseling, tuition loss, and relocation and other moving expenses are just a few of the staggering economic consequences of sexual assault. Advocacy to prevent these losses may include insurance claims against third parties; an application for disability, unemployment, and other benefits from state and local benefit programs or private insurance programs; actions for child support; applications under victim compensation statutes; and tort claims against perpetrators, employers, hosts, landlords, universities, and others.51 The most accessible financial remedy may be a claim under a state victim compensation fund (if the statutory requirements for crime victim compensation have been met). State victim compensation schemes typically cover medical, dental, and counseling expenses; lost wages; lost homemaker services; and lost financial support for dependents of victims of homicide.

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National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards Links to each state's crime victim compensation programs.

Most compensation statutes do not cover lost tuition, relocation and housing expenses, or lost employment due to non-physical injuries such as mental health problems. Crime victim compensation statutes can offer much-needed temporary financial relief immediately after an assault. In many jurisdictions, however, crime victim compensation is a payor of last resort and carries with it certain hurdles that may prevent victims from seeking or receiving compensation benefits. For example, compensation requires that a victim report the crime and cooperate with law enforcement officers. Due to a low incidence of reporting by sexual assault survivors, only a minority of them will be eligible for this remedy. In addition, victims who were engaged in illegal activities (e.g., underage drinking, illegal substance abuse, prostitution) may be ineligible for benefits entirely.