PROVIDENCE, RI: A bill proposed by Treasurer Seth Magaziner, which expands the State’s
Crime Victim Compensation Program to include support for minors who witness homicides
or domestic violence, has been signed into law today by Governor Gina Raimondo,
during a ceremonial signing ceremony at the Rhode Island State House.
“I am grateful to everyone who has played a role in expanding Treasury’s Crime Victim
Compensation Program to include support for the most vulnerable Rhode Islanders”,
said Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “Children in Rhode Island are estimated to be present
at over a third of domestic violence arrests. This bill recognizes that these children
are, without doubt, victims of the crime they witnessed – and removes an unnecessary
hurdle to those children getting the care they need.”
The legislation, which was sponsored by House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi and
Senator Hanna Gallo who serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education,
passed both chambers with unanimous support.

“This bill will take better care of our children, because they are innocent victims
too. It will help families gain access to supportive services for these children
whose critical needs will no longer go unrecognized or unaddressed,” said Leader
Shekarchi.

“When children witness a domestic violence incident or a homicide, the psychological
scars are deep and lasting. It is right and decent that the program established
to serve crime victims also defray costs associated with the healing process for
children in these cases,” said Chairwoman Gallo.

Parents and guardians are now able to apply to Rhode Island’s Crime Victim Compensation
Program for reimbursement for expenses related to psychiatric care and mental health
counseling up to $1,500 per minor victim – bringing the amount available for
psychiatric
care and mental health counseling in line with adult victims.

“This expansion of Rhode Island’s Crime Victim Compensation Program will enable
more young victims of violence to access essential mental health care, helping to
break the intergenerational cycle of violence,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director
of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
More than twenty states allow minors to seek compensation from their state crime
victim compensation program.

Approximately 60 percent of Crime Victim Compensation Program compensation costs
are provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, with the balance typically covered
by fees recovered by the Rhode Island Court System. The new law is not expected
to have a material impact on general revenue expenditures.