INDIANAPOLIS–You have rights whenever a crime is perpetrated on you, and a crime victims’ rights group is asking state lawmakers to make it mandatory that you’re informed of those rights, and that victims be compensated regardless of whether they cooperate with law enforcement.
“The common phrase that victims and survivors use, they receive a life sentence of pain and grief and loss and trauma,” said , the first state-wide victims service organization.
Hill said she sees first-hand the damage that being shot or stabbed, or otherwise victimized by violent crime can do.
“Not only do they have to deal with emotional impact and trauma for the rest of their lives, but they also have to deal with the physical side effects of that,” she said.
That can include loss of memory, poor concentration, and sometimes divorce when the trauma involves couples or children.
Medical bills can be devastating, as well. Being shot can end up bankrupting a person or a family.
“We have crime victim compensation through the State of Indiana, where victims of crime if they, the key is if they cooperate with law enforcement, can apply for up to $15,000 in compensation,” said Hill. But, when people are victims of street crime or gang violence, they may be scared to cooperate, for fear of retribution.
That’s why Hill believes the law should be changed in two ways.
“That’s not nearly enough ($15,000) to help alleviate some of the bills they have, all the medical bills from physical therapy, emotional therapy, and the bills from the ER, medication, things like that.” Hill said she believes $25,000 would be a more helpful sum, and that lawmakers should create a provision where people can get compensation without having to cooperate.
Hill also said she is advocating for a card, like Miranda rights, where police officers would read people their victims rights once a crime is committed against them.
Those rights include the right to confer with a prosecutor, the right to be heard, the right to be present at criminal proceedings and the right to be notified if the accused is released or escapes.