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Justice Department Proposal Could Fix Crime Victim Fund Disparities

Money from the Office of Victims of Crime, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, goes to states, where it is distributed to help crime victims with with funeral expenses, physical and emotional therapy, lost wages, crime-scene cleanup and more. But those funds haven't always been distributed fairly. And so, the Associated Press reports, on Monday, the Justice Department proposed rule changes on Monday to state-run programs that use that financially assist victims of crime -- to address racial disparities and curb subjective denials of compensation.

Last year, the AP found last year that Black victims were disproportionately denied compensation: from 2018 through 2021, the denials added up to thousands of Black families each year collectively missing out on millions of dollars in assistance. Black victims were also nearly three times as likely to be denied for subjective reasons, including a category often called “contributory misconduct” where programs sometimes, without evidence, accuse victims of causing or contributing to their own victimization. If adopted, the proposed changes would bar states from considering a victim’s criminal history and eliminate some of the most subjective reasons for denials, the AP found.

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