Violent crime is a reality throughout the world, including the US. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), over 1.1 million violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2014. The FBI defines violent crime as including aggravated assault, rape, robbery, murder and manslaughter. Despite steady drops in crime rates, violence still affects millions of Americans every year. Victims of violent crimes may suffer financial stress resulting from medical bills, lost wages, or funeral costs. Recovering from violence can be difficult enough; fortunately, there are state programs to help those in need.
The first victim compensation program was created in 1965 in California. By 1972, nine additional states were operating similar programs. The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 established the federal Crime Victims Fund. These programs are funded with fines, fees, and forfeitures from violent offenders rather than tax dollars at both state and federal levels.
There are crime victim compensation programs in every state (and Washington, D.C.).