Helping Victims Every Day Transcript

Narrator: The great state of California, home to millions and visited by people from around the world. However, amidst this beauty and wealth, violent crime can occur. Unfortunately, no matter how safe you may feel, or how many precautions you take, everyone is vulnerable to violent crime. Violence does not discriminate.

Woman: My nine year old son was killed by a drunk driver.

Woman: My son was murdered at the front door of our house. He was shot in the chest and he died instantly.

Woman: I was stabbed thirteen times and my son was murdered; he was shot in the back.

Man: I was run over by a car, and then stabbed.

Woman: My seventeen year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.

Narrator: For people who are victims of violence or the threat of violence, help is available through the Victim Compensation Program.

Nauman: Hello, I'm Julie Nauman, Executive Officer for the California Victim Compensation Program. Since 1965, California has provided financial assistance for victims of violent crime and their families. We have helped thousands of people get back on their feet by reimbursing crime-related expenses. Financial stress only adds to the pain and trauma victims and their families suffer after a violent crime. That's why CalVCP provides compensation for medical and dental bills, funeral and burial costs, mental health counseling, income loss, and relocation expenses as well as other costs not covered by insurance. The program not only helps victims of violent crime that occurred in California, but can assist residents who become victims outside the state. What's unique about CalVCP is that it is funded by restitution money, as well as fines and penalties paid by criminal offenders, not by your tax dollars. I encourage anyone who becomes a victim of violent crime to apply. Our call center is available to assist with the application process, answer eligibility questions, and locate additional victim services in communities throughout the state. CalVCP also works with law enforcement and the court system to ensure that all victims are aware of this program so that victims and their families get the compensation they deserve. We know that crime hurts everyone. CalVCP is here to help.

Woman: The day I became a victim my whole world just turned upside down. It was January 3rd, 2006.

Woman: July 15th.

Woman: On December 2nd, 2003.

Woman: We were sleeping; it was a Tuesday, early Tuesday morning, and we heard the gunshot.

Woman: It was my daughter’s boyfriend who had planned to murder me for a life insurance policy.

Man: And all of a sudden I was hit. At the time I wasn’t sure what happened. I thought it was a random car that hit me, but then I turned around; the car was coming at me again while I was trying to get away.

Woman: It happened right in front of the school.

Woman: Next thing I know, he’s coming at me with this knife.

Woman: She was rushed to the emergency room at UC Davis hospital.

Woman: And I started crawling on my hands and knees, screaming, hoping somebody could hear. He was right behind me.

Woman: When the doctor came out to tell me about my son, he told me that he did everything he could do, and I couldn’t hear those words.

Man: He was at that time threatening to kill me as he was stabbing me, and then they got into the car and they drove off.

Woman: All I could think of at the moment—I’m not going to see my kids again.

Man: One second, you know,  I’m walking, the next second I’m laying on the ground with blood everywhere.

Woman: The social worker, with tears in her eyes, said to me, I’m sorry, but your seventeen year old didn’t make it.

Man: I was in the hospital for six weeks and had six surgeries for them to save my leg.

Woman: After the fact, told me they had lost me three times during the operations. And he said you just kept coming back.

Man: There was not one night that I can say that I slept over an hour during that night. The pain was so immense I couldn’t believe it. The thing was upsetting the most was, while I was still in pain, in the hospital, the people that did this to me were on the run.

Woman: I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know—I mean I didn’t…why did it happen?

Woman: I went through months of physical therapy.

Woman: I had to go to counseling, my family had to go to counseling.

Woman: The cost just kept rising after my daughter was killed. The medical bills. I had to get my youngest daughter into counseling.

Man: I knew I didn’t have insurance, my own personal insurance, and I wasn’t sure what insurance I was going to have.

Woman: I was confused and I didn’t know who to turn to.

Woman: I had to figure out a way to pay for the funeral to put him to rest.

Woman: I didn’t know how we were going to pay for this. I had no insurance.

Woman: We were sitting at the dining table trying to figure out how we were going to pay for James’ memorial and his burial.

Woman: We remembered the police officer gave us this important information regarding the Victims’ Compensation Program.

Woman: It was too much. I had to get help. I had to.

Bagatti: Every day law enforcement officers come into contact with victims of violent crime. Victims are usually confused, frightened, unsure of what to do or where to go to next. We do our best to help them by directing them to speak with a local victim’s witness advocate. Every county has one. We also give them a Victims’ Compensation Program card or brochure and tell them about the program, their rights as a victim, and how to get assistance. It is important that each victim be informed of this valuable resource, and their right to restitution. We also provide a copy of the crime report when an application is filed. It makes me proud to be able to help those who need it the most.

Baur: As a Medical Social Worker, I work with victims of crime on a regular basis. They often feel victimized twice when they receive their medical bills. That’s why I feel grateful that I can give them information on the Victim Compensation Program, where they can receive reimbursement for their medical bills and other crime-related costs.

Love: As a Mental Health Clinician working here in the state of California, we see adults who have been victims of domestic violence, both men and women. We see adults who have been sexually assaulted. Adults who have been caught up in crimes in the community, drive by shootings, and other kinds of events. And the trauma of those kinds of experiences are very dramatic. I think it’s also important for clinicians to understand that this is a wonderful opportunity for them to reach out to families that otherwise may not get assistance, families that might be resistant to getting assistance because they’re concerned that they don’t have the financial resources. It’s certainly important to understand that no child and no family who’s been a victim of a crime should ever go without the services they need, or without the help they need.

Dorsey: The court process can be overwhelming. As a Victim Witness Advocate, I speak with many victims every day, and I let them know that someone was there, who will be there every time, for every court appearance, someone who cared about the outcome of this case; that their loved one will not just go down as just a number or a case number; that their loved ones will be remembered. A victim advocate is more than just an advocate; they’re a comforter, at times a healer. They hold the hand, and they make this process seem more bearable. Day in and day out as an advocate, you’re called upon to bring strength to family members where they probably feel like they are at their weakest. And it’s a journey and it’s a ministry to see these families go from some of the most horrific moments of their life to moments of strength, where they feel like they can make it one more day into the court room.

Valencia: Victims of crime have the right to restitution. Restitution means that the offender who committed a crime must repay the victim for any crime-related losses. A local victim witness advocate can help victims request restitution in court.

Hanley: Our job is to work with local victim witness advocates, state agencies, and district attorneys who have obtained restitution for the compensation fund. Through our combined efforts we have received millions of dollars that have helped thousands of victims.

Narrator: In 1982, California voters passed Proposition 8, which established rights for victims of crime. They have the right to restitution from the offender. The right to truth and evidence in criminal proceedings. Public safety is a primary consideration in setting of bail. They have the right to speak at felony sentencing and parole hearings. And the right to safe schools.

Woman: Victim Compensation, that was the first door I walked in, and that was the door that began the strength that unfolded later.

Woman: I thought it would take weeks to hear back on my application, after we filled it out, but it was only a few days before we heard back from the Victim Compensation Program.

Woman: And any time they had any questions, we got a response right away.

Man: The Victim Compensation Program has paid my medical expenses so far, which has exceeded about 40 to 50 thousand dollars.

Woman: I went through some counseling after James died and also my sons went through some counseling also.

Woman: The Victim Compensation Program paid for the funeral, which helped us a lot, helped us deal with a lot of stress, since we weren’t prepared to deal with something like that.

Woman: I was pleased to find out that not only do they support you through the funds, and the monetary part of the tragedy you go through, but also with emotional support. And that was so helpful to know that people are in your corner.

Woman: I don’t know how we would have been able to cope without these services.

Woman: I was in a stressful situation, and it was just awesome to not have to worry about paying these bills. I’d already suffered the loss of my daughter, and getting through that process was already taking its toll, but Victim Compensation was right there to make that transition so easy for me.

Woman: It’s comforting to know that they are there, and there are people that care, and that you don’t have to go through it alone.

Man: This is a very positive service to have. I’m back in school right now. I’m getting my associate’s degree next semester, and if I didn’t have assistance from this program, positively and financially, I wouldn’t be able to be in that position I’m in this semester coming up.

Woman: So knowing the Victim Compensation Program has been there for us, it’s helped us you know, to move on with our lives, but know that they’ll always be there if we do need them.

Woman: Since you have so many other things that you need worry about that…Going through this program can really help you.

Man: So if you or someone who know

Woman: who is a victim of crime

Woman: or if you’re a service provider

Woman: please tell them that there is help out there.

Woman: The Victim Compensation Program

Man: Helped me.

Woman: Helped me.

Woman: Helped me.

Woman: Helped me.

Woman: Survive

Woman: the financial cost of crime.

Narrator: The Victim Compensation Program: Helping Californians since 1965.

Woman: I just want to thank the Victim Compensation Program, the victim advocates. Without their support, whether it be financial, emotional, this ordeal would have been a lot harder.