House Bill 182
151st General Assembly (Present)
Ready for Governor for action
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO VICTIMS OF CRIMES.
The Victims’ Compensation Assistance Program (“Agency” or “VCAP”) administers the Victims’ Compensation Fund and provides financial assistance to eligible victims of crimes to help cover the costs of a variety of services that help victims and their families begin to rebuild their lives, including lost wages, medical expenses, payment for mental health counseling, and funeral expenses. By awarding financial compensation for losses that victims sustain as a result of crime, VCAP can help alleviate the financial burden and distress that crime leaves behind. In FY 2019, VCAP paid $2,091,787.94 to and on behalf of victims of crime. VCAP is solvent and the Victims’ Compensation Fund balance as of June 30, 2020 was $4,155,111.82. This Act seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of VCAP in the following ways: (1) Lifts the statutory employment cap that limited the number of employees VCAP could employ. This update will enable the Department of Justice to augment VCAP staff by utilizing grant or federal funding. (2) Codifies benefits and more clearly enumerates available benefits and increases the funeral and burial benefit to $5,000/$2,500, respectively. (3) Makes several changes to conform to the current practice, including removing the claims payment process description in § 9005(8) and § 9009, updating the claims application process in § 9009, and removing the reporting requirements in § 9017. (4) Amends § 9009(10) to give the Agency specific authority to close inactive claims. (5) Updates the list of Advisory Council members to reflect the dissolution of the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware, which became the Delaware Alliance Against Sexual Violence. (6) Expands the population of victims able to be served, including changes to ensure victims of human trafficking are eligible for compensation. (7) Extends the deadlines to request reconsideration and file an appeal with the Appeals Board and reorganizes appeals process provisions by placing them all in the same section. (8) Changes "offense date" to "sentencing date" in § 9014(c). (9) Updates the chapter so that each program is referred to by a consistent name. (10) Adds defined terms “Executive Director” and “claimant” to the definitions section and further clarifies to which category of victims parts of the Code apply. (11) Removes the term “incompetent” in favor of adopting a phrase that uses people first language. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Takes effect upon being signed into law