Crimes Compensation Trust Fund
No one wants to be a victim of crime but it happens. If you do become a victim, you don’t have to deal with it alone. The Monroe County State Attorney’s Office and local police agencies can help victims with or refer victims to agencies specializing in their needs stemming from the crime, such as counseling services, obtaining orders of protection, and obtaining shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Beyond that, crime victims are not left to themselves to deal with the financial fallout. There are services available to crime victims or, in the case of a death, their next of kin at no cost to them through the Florida Attorney General’s Office Division of Victim Services.
In 2016 and 2017, $134,078 was paid out from the state Crimes Compensation Trust Fund to Monroe County for such things as relocation help for victims of domestic violence, sexual-battery forensic exams, victim compensation and property loss.
Funding comes from a variety of sources, including:
- Court Fees
The Crimes Compensation Trust Fund is a fund of last resort, meaning you are not able to get compensation from any other source stemming from the crime such as medical insurance, a lawsuit settlement or a judgement for restitution. If you are granted money from the fund and subsequently receive money from another source stemming from the same crime, you are required to repay the fund.
Possible compensation can include:
- Expenses for things such as prosthetics, eyeglasses, dentures or prescriptions if needed due to being a victim of crime
- Funeral or burial expenses for a crime victim
- Loss of financial support because the person who supported you financially died due to being a victim of crime
- Loss of salary due to injury from the crime or missing work because you are a parent or guardian who is caring for a minor who was injured in a crime
- Mental-health counseling due to issues arising from being a victim of crime
- Payment if you become permanently disabled due to being a victim of crime
- Property loss due to a crime against someone age 60 or older or disabled (Not all property is compensable)
There are criteria to be eligible, including:
- Relocation claims for victims of human trafficking who have “an urgent need to escape from an unsafe environment directly related to the human trafficking offense” must be filed through and certified by a domestic violence center in Florida. The application and certification must be received within 45 days of the “last identifiable threat from the human trafficking offender” that was communicated to law enforcement.
- The victim applied for services within one year of the crime, in most cases.
- The victim must fully cooperate with police and prosecutors.
- The victim must have reported the crime within 72 hours of it happening.
- The victim must not have been involved in criminal activity when the crime occurred.
- The victim or applicant “must not have been confined or in custody in a county or municipal facility; a state or federal correctional facility; or a juvenile detention, commitment, or assessment facility; adjudicated as a habitual felony offender, habitual violent offender, violent career criminal; or adjudicated guilty of a forcible felony offense,” according to the Attorney General’s Office.
- The victim suffered personal physical injury or death as a result of the crime (there are some exceptions for mental-health injury).
- Victims of domestic violence who have “an immediate need to escape” a domestic-violence environment must have their claims filed through a domestic abuse center in Florida. Victims have 30 days from the date of the crime to file an application and certification.
- Victims of sex crimes who “need to relocate due to a reasonable fear for their continued safety” must have their claims filed through a rape crisis center in Florida.
- The victim’s conduct must not have contributed to the reasons for injuries.
Victims of sex crimes, domestic violence and human trafficking must submit estimates, invoices or receipts from:
- Emergency Food or Clothing
- Interim Lodging
- Moving Company Expenses
- New Cellular Phone Service
- Utility Deposits
How to Apply
To apply to the Bureau of Victim Compensation, you need to complete a claim application; provide proof of the crime such as a police report, charging document from the State Attorney’s Office or indictment; proof of crime-related expenses including itemized bills; and proof of any payment received stemming from the crime (insurance, restitution and the like).
Note that only those expenses directly related to the crime will be considered for payment. All benefits have dollar limitations, subject to change without prior notice, and require certain types of documentation. Some benefits are not available for certain types of claims.
To find out more and to find applications, visit the My Florida Legal website's Victim Advocacy page, or call 800-226-6667.