There are various programs designed for crime victims such as Welfare programs, Crime Victim Assistance Program and also Crime victim compensation program. Most of these programs are designed to ensure fairness in terms of treating the crime victim and enable them to recover successfully from the undesirable ordeals. The current analysis focuses on crime victim compensation program, a state code that came into existence when Victims of Crime Act was approved by the Congress and a decree signed by President Reagan. Every country has its compensation program whose main aim is to reimburse losses of cruel crimes such as rape, assault and manslaughter. The assessment of the satisfaction of a victim after a crime has been committed against him/her is one of the core concepts that are to be looked at so that such issues do not overwhelm and deter victims from becoming productive members of the society. Current paper seeks to explain in detail the history and goals of the Crime victim compensation program. This is a program that has been put in place to make the victims of criminal activities feel appreciated and recognized as worthwhile members of the society who do not deserve maltreatment of any kind from the cruelty imposed on them by evildoers.
The idea of offering financial assistance to crime victims for losses they encountered was first introduced by the English reformer Margery Fry in 1950s.The thought was put into practice in New Zealand and afterwards Great Britain. Welfare program was among the earliest programs that offered assistance to victims in need. The first victim compensation program was initiated in California in 1965 and later in New York. In 1979, there existed about 28 state compensation programs in which victims were treated equally in terms of compensation (Jerin & Moriarty, 2010). This program allowed the involvement of the victims in criminal justice system as the victims were expected to give criminal details to the law and assist in the process of prosecution. However, the early program administrators could not zealously support their victim’s issues but later compensation administrators often encouraged social responsibilities to those who suffered from the crimes. Later on, it was deemed possible to compensate victims by fully supporting their endeavors and attempts to be treated fairly in everything that they did. Crime victim compensation would therefore encompass all activities that would directly or indirectly support the client after being ill-treated by societal wrongdoers (Niallah, 2007).
Goals and Objectives of Crime Victim Compensation Program
In the United States, a board was set up to ensure that all the goals of crime victim compensation were successfully achieved. The board has developed various standards for the program so as to achieve various goals.
Making reliable decisions that are in line with the law and mission of the program to cater for the needs of the victims is one of the program’s goals. Decisions made should be timely and accurate so that effective planning can be done and the decisions made are diverse in relation to the needs of the victims.
Ensuring awareness of the victims about decisions in a precise and efficient way and notifying them about their rights as individuals are among the objectives of the program. This can also be done by coming up with processes that will encourage accurate and prompt decision making.
It is paramount that compensation schemes provide information regarding the compensation opportunities that are available to victims. Moreover, the programs should ensure an effective communication with the individuals as well as victims that they work with. Information is essential for effective communication within the organization.
The objective is to convey information effectively and in an apt manner with victims in-person, by means of applications and telephone contacts.
Compensation programs should make certain that applications are processed in the right manner and accurately so that the affected victims are compensated promptly in accordance with the program’s rules and mandates.
Some of the objectives of accurate claims processing include; providing training to the management to ensure that the applications processed are of good quality. Moreover, the processing of applications ensures that rules and statutes are followed to the letter. It ensures consistency in the processing process. One more objective of the claim processing is ensuring efficiency while processing the applications through the establishment of improving processes.
Compensation programs should ensure that enough funds are available for the program to compensate all qualified applicants for all their losses and at the appropriate time (Padfield, 2006).
One of the objectives for sound financial planning is to obtain the real and accurate picture of the programs and fiscal state, and to come up with approaches to operate with during fiscal constraints. Moreover, it avails adequate funds for the program through various available sources. It also includes recovery of the program’s payouts from the answerable parties and offenders through subrogation and refund.
When the systems are working in unison, there is a uniform flow of information and all the operations are worked out clearly. Thus, the compensation program should ensure that all the systems are coordinated.
The key objective for collaborative dealings is to ensure the existence of effective relationships with various victim service providers to provide dependable services to the victims (Davis, Lurigio, & Herman, 2007)
Trustworthiness is paramount so that the victims and survivors of crimes are assured of confidentiality while their ideas are considered during planning.
Crime victims and or survivors are meaningfully consulted in planning, execution and assessment of services. Rights of victims and survivors are esteemed and promoted by the program through public education, governmental initiatives, and support. The Compensation Program is evaluated through the use of a consumer feedback questionnaire sent to the applicants upon their approval, ineligibility, or no loss of their claim.
Crime compensation program is meant to reimburse crime victims financially to enable them recover the losses they have encountered. This is compensation to the victim by the state program that caters for medical issues, counseling and even for burial expenses if the victim was killed. For the program to be efficient, the following suggestions are to be implemented. The program management should be enhanced through the implementation of the following;
Needs’ assessment that would help to identify the gaps in order to meet the needs of the victim should be identified. In realization of needs assessment, the goals and objectives together with the mission statement are clearly stated, which enables the program to work towards the achievement of those goals and objectives. Strategic planning should also be embraced as it’s the roadmap that provides a distinct direction for a person to follow. As for the planning one has to consider the skills required so as to achieve the goals and the objectives stated earlier. Approaches applied in the pursuit of the outlined objectives and goals have to be specific and must be in line with the target victims. Objectives and goals must be stated for easier and effective implementation of the plan.
Coordination in the program is paramount as it outlines the relations between the management and the victims. Victim’s information or cases should be confidential and they are to be revealed or disclosed only to the authorized persons. These could be the parties who are carrying out the investigation about a certain crime. Staff members should be highly trained on the compensation services and also schemes that the victims are entitled for. This can be achieved through the introduction of training sessions within the program where the staff members will acquire relevant knowledge in the field. With today’s technological advancement, compensation information in various agencies should be communicated through advertisements in social media, while nations should carry out more outreach of this program so that the victims are familiar with the system (Niallah, 2007). Welfare movements should also be encouraged to ensure that victims have their own organization where they can meet and discuss the issues affecting them.
Improved and effective communication needs to be addressed in state compensation program. Resources underutilization usually occurs simply because there is no awareness about the services to be compensated. However, not all victims are familiar with the technological advancement that makes some individuals feel stigmatized. Therefore, it’s the role of the administrators to ensure that such victims are aware of the compensation programs (United States, 2007). This can be achieved in case the trained staff gives efficient and reliable information to the clients.
As for shortening the reimbursement period, the time it takes for one to be compensated may be a period of time which may not be estimated. This is due to the various issues that are to be considered for one to be compensated. It lengthens the compensation period making some victims give up on the service. The process is tiresome and various rules and regulations have to be followed. However, this can be put in place through effective communication, in which case every person will be able to access accurate and correct information about the service. This is because information is very important for any system to work and develop at a higher speed.
Removing the bureaucratic procedures that hinder service agencies from assisting the victims is another strategy that may be used. Bureaucracy is one of the limitations that hinder development in our states. This is because different staff members have different ideas concerning an issue and everyone wants to attend differently to the same matter. The procedures followed may be too complicated and sometimes the senior administrators may not be in a position to approve the services urgently requested by a victim. However, it is worth saying that these procedures have to be flexible to allow for changes due to accidental circumstances and events. Sometimes bureaucracy results in delay of the solution of the problem and at the same time the problem doubles rather than being solved. Administrators should ensure that there are simpler ways of solving problems than creating them.
The law plays a vital role in informing the public about their compensation. Therefore, the police in their jurisdiction should be encouraged to inform various victims about the state compensation programs and their individual rights. Police officers should be highly trained to ensure that the information they are going to provide is relevant and applicable to all clients (United States, 2007). The law may not be in a position to provide the required information about compensation due to various duties that are assigned to them. There should therefore be established another system or method in which the information becomes available to the victims at the appropriate time. This can be done through the doctors, insurers and also the clergy.
The management should work closely with the victims to assist them with ideas and the staff should guide the victims on various services offered for compensation. Working together brings diversity in ideology and a general conclusion may be derived when making a decision. Clients have different problems that affect them and hence the management is in a position to understand them better. The administrators should help the victims fill in the application forms and advice them to seek more information from the insurers. This can also be emphasized when the management carries out the follow ups to ensure that the victims follow the compensation procedure completely rather than leave it half way if it is hard to complete. By doing so the management will improve the efficiency by which the compensation program will operate.
Furthermore, the administrators need to carry out a very extensive research on whether the victims have insurance covers or whether they have been faced with some medical costs or other expenses. Research on the data of victims and the amount of compensations that are required to be reimbursed should also be considered since resources have to be planned for in order to accomplish the tasks. Through research the compensation program should be evaluated to find out whether there are compensation barriers or whether the services are effective.
However, the management should simplify eligibility and the paperwork since this may make one to feel tired and end up abandoning what they intended to do. Some victims may find it hard to deal with paperwork rather than technological means. Due to technological advancement, paperwork is tiresome even when it comes to documentation. Computers help in filing the documents that can easily be retrieved (Jerin & Moriarty, 2010). The management should be highly trained in terms of technological expertise to be able to reach out even for those with special needs who require special skills to understand the information about the compensation program.
The general public, however, needs to know about the state compensation program. It is paramount for every individual to be informed of their compensation and the application procedure should be made easier to every individual. The compensation program should maximize the funds that they have in order to compensate the victims. On the other hand, they should advice those victims whom they deny compensation. However, these funds should be made available to the victims.
The state may compare its compensation program with those of other states so as to compare the rate of victimization in other states and within their own boundaries. That is, between urban and rural areas. With enough data the government will be in a position to cater for the victims of various crimes and compensate them accordingly. Furthermore with enough and correct information, the government will be able to create awareness about the areas with the highest victimization and thus the citizens of a country will be informed. All victims should be compensated equally without discrimination thus bias any biases should be avoided.
It is clear that information serves a crucial role in enhancing public awareness in any society. Therefore, effective communication is a tool that can be used to ensure reliable information is disseminated. The state should ensure proper and highly trained personnel are recruited for the state compensation program to implement quality plans with the aim of sustaining and expanding the program. The government is also expected to work together with the victims in order to come up with a variety of strategies to be put into practice so as to help the victims of crimes. As a state program, the compensation program continues to financially reimburse crime victims up to date.