Assemblymember Didi Barrett Helps Pass Legislation to Aid and Protect Crime Victims and Their Families

April 26, 2012

Today, Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Washington) helped passed several pieces of legislation in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. These measures would help protect victims from any further harm and increase aid to ease the financial burdens placed on many victims’ families. This year, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 22-28.

“Far too many families and loved ones are victimized by crime every year,” Assemblymember Barrett said. “While we cannot take away their pain and hardship completely, it is so important that these victims and their families are protected and provided with the vital aid and resources they often need in such a vulnerable time.”

The Assembly passed a measure that would expand eligibility for compensation from the Crime Victims Board (A.3592). This bill would allow individuals maintaining significant and long-term relationships with homicide victims to be eligible for compensation from the Crime Victims Board for counseling expenses and out-of-pocket losses. Such people include elderly siblings, relatives who share living quarters in an interdependent relationship, adult partners in long-term relationships not formalized by marriage and those who have parent-child relationships but haven’t entered into a formal adoption arrangement.

“Expanding eligibility for compensation coverage allows those who are suffering through such a difficult time to have the support they need to recover and begin rebuilding their lives,” Assemblymember Barrett said.

Other legislation passed to aid victims and their families suffering from financial hardship include a measure that would change the reporting requirements relating to restitution and fair treatment from once a year to every two years (A.9025), and a measure that allows courts to direct antitrust fines to be paid to the Office of Victim Services, putting more funds into the programs that help crime victims (A.9028).

The package also includes a bill that would authorize courts to revoke the firearms licenses and seize the weapons of individuals who have been ordered to treatment or committed to a mental health facility (A.3081). Currently, New York State law does not allow the court to seize firearms and revoke firearm licenses from these individuals.