Monday, April 1, 2013
Nevada Victims of Crime Program
Advocates for Victims of Abuse (AVA) was first founded to assist the survivors and secondary survivors of sexual violence. Since its inception we have found ourselves working with more than only sexual violence clients, but survivors of many different crimes referred to us for assistance. AVA-CASA not only provides 24/7 advocacy and crisis intervention, various safety, prevention, and awareness programs, we also provide numerous resources and referrals to other entities which clients may be able to benefit from. However, it is very difficult to ask for help from anyone. This takes a lot of courage for someone to do. No one should feel they have no choice, no options, and no help. AVA-CASA acknowledges how difficult it can be to take a step forward and to seek out an organization to ask for help. Our purpose today is to let the readers know of a program where they can receive help, through our agency, or on their own. One concern many survivors have is the financial costs related to the crime. The impact of a violence crime can be devastating to the survivors and secondary survivors, and the financial costs to recover can be tremendous. It is hard enough to deal with the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma of being victimized, without having to deal with the financial aspects as well. The trauma of a crime will often result in someone needing medical assistance, such as emergency room visit, hospital stay or doctors visits. Many survivors or secondary survivors find it helpful to see a counselor to cope with the trauma, which can be an expense many cannot afford. If a person has suffered from physical or emotional trauma as a result of violent or personal crime, they may be eligible for financial assistance from the state of Nevada. The State of Nevada Victims of Crime Program (VOCP) can greatly assist any victims and/or their families. Nevada Revised Statute 217.010 states: “It is the policy of the State to provide assistance to persons who are victims of violent crimes or the dependents of victims of violent crimes”. Those who are eligible to receive compensation from VOCP must be a victim of a violent crime in Nevada, which resulted in physical injury, a threat of physical injury or death. The family members of a deceased victim of crime are also eligible. The crime should be reported to law enforcement within five days, unless the victim is physically or mentally unable to have filed within the five days. A VOCP application should be submitted within a year of the crime, or a reasonable amount of time if they are unable to file within that year. VOCP can help victims of crimes such as drunk driving, homicide, sex crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, elderly abuse, as well as assault and battery. Any minors who are victims of sexual violence or pornography have until the age of 21 to file a claim with VOCP. VOCP can cover medical expenses, counseling and therapy, loss of wages due to the crime, funeral expenses, and damages done to a vehicle or home in the commission of the crime, emergency shelter, relocation costs, medication, and more. VOCP will not pay for lost or stolen property, cash, property damage, pain and suffering, or expenses that can be covered by insurance. VOCP will pay up to $35,000 to those who have been victimized by violent crime. Many local agencies and organizations in Humboldt County and around the state are able to assist victims and families to complete an application for VOCP. However, any one can go onto the State of Nevada VOCP program themselves and read about the program, as well as print out an application and file it themselves. The website is: http://www.voc.NV.gov. If someone has been the victim of a crime in another state, we encourage them to seek out that states Victim of Crime program. The National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards provides information on crime victim’s compensation boards across the United States which can be found at http://www.nacvcb.org or the Office for Victims of Crime at www.ojp.usdoj.gov This column is not is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice or treatment. The mission of AVA is to empower those victimized by abuse and/or violence through advocacy and crisis intervention and to raise awareness in the community about the cause, impact, and prevention of relationship abuse, sexual violence, child abuse and neglect, and bullying. Tri-County CASA supports and promotes volunteer advocacy to protect the best interests of abuse and neglected children in Humboldt, Lander, and Pershing Counties in Nevada.