Victim Compensation Connection Newsletter, November 2009
In This Issue
Understanding California's Victims
From the Desk of Julie Nauman, Executive Officer
Studies indicate that people with disabilities are estimated to be 2 to 10 times more likely to be victimized and people with developmental disabilities are 4 to10 times more likely. In fact, one quarter of all adults with severe persistent mental illness became victims of violent crime in the past year and this is 11 times higher than the general population. These facts were shared with the Victim Advisory Committee last month during a presentation from the Disability Rights California organization.
These statistics are disturbing and underscore the need for those providing services to fully appreciate the vulnerability of this victim population. Educating ourselves about these victims will prepare us to better serve the needs of not only disabled victims but victims of all crimes.
Earlier this month I was proud to have participated in the first Criminal Restitution Compact Conference in many years. Hosted by the Board’s Fiscal Services Division, the conference included a presentation from the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, a discussion of CRC expectations and a review of victim confidentiality requirements. With more than 50 attendees in the room, I was thrilled to see this interaction among colleagues.
Following this event, the Board welcomed the California Crime Victim Assistance Association Compensation Committee for their bimonthly meeting. The CCVAA is the professional association of county victim assistance centers. There, we discussed the state of the CalVCP program and the work being done to improve CaRES, and I had the opportunity to listen to comments and concerns from more of our stakeholders and partners.
We have demonstrated that by working together we can accomplish great things for our State and for the victims we are here to serve. And by understanding the diversity of needs and the demographics of our applicants, we are able to provide a higher level of service.
As we prepare for the holiday season, I want to express my gratitude for the hard work that is being done by all our partners on behalf of victims throughout the state. May you have a happy holiday and a prosperous 2010.
Governor Schwarzenegger Restores Funding for Domestic Violence Shelters
October 21, 2009
Executive Officer Julie Nauman attended the Governor’s Press Conference for the signing of Senate Bill X3 13. The bill, authored by Senator Elaine Alquist, restored $16.3 million dollars to domestic violence shelters throughout California after being forced to cut funding earlier this year.
This bill provides for a one-time loan from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Fund to help domestic violence shelters for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The loan will be repaid by June 30, 2013.
The press conference was also attended by the Executive Director of WEAVE Beth Hassett, Assemblyman Dave Jones and several others working towards greater funding for victims of domestic violence.
Julie Nauman Attended Governor Schwarzenegger's press conference where he signed SBX3 13 by Senator Elaine Alquist to restore $16.3 million of state funding to support California domestic violence shelters.
“Dear Judge” – Restitution Recovery Letter to be Mailed
The Legislation and Public Affairs (LPA) Division is currently conducting a major outreach effort to reach all Superior and Appellate Court judges in the State of California regarding mandatory restitution fines and orders.
The Restitution Fund, which provides money for compensation to victims of crime in California, is funded by criminal restitution fines, diversion fees and restitution orders imposed by court judges. The Restitution Fund requires a continual influx of restitution money to remain viable; without it CalVCP will struggle to exist. Many counties have made great efforts in imposing and collecting restitution money, while others have not yet embraced this opportunity to optimize collections that ultimately assist victims of crime.
In order for CalVCP to continue to provide compensation to victims, it is vital that all counties be dedicated to imposing and collecting mandatory restitution. To aid this achievement, the LPA is sending all State of California judges various materials containing information about imposing mandatory restitution fines and orders. The material will also highlight information regarding each individual county specifically showcasing how much victims have been compensated compared to the restitution collected from each county for the last three (3) fiscal years. The information packet will also include a laminated Quick Reference Sheet which gives detailed information and legal authority for imposing restitution fines and orders.
It is our hope that the judges will review the statutes which mandate that restitution fines and orders must be imposed. With stronger enforcement and collection follow-through more California crime victims will receive the necessary compensation they need to recover from their unforeseen and tragic event.
2009 VOCA National Training Conference
States Discuss the Role of Restitution Recovery in the Current Economic Climate
The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) was one of 50 States and territories invited to participate in the 2009 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) National Training Conference. This year’s conference was a joint partnership between The National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators (NAVAA) and the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards (NACVCB). Chip Skinner, CalVCP’s Deputy Executive Officer, traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the three-day event and collaborate with representatives from compensation boards across the nation.
The large variety of topics on this year’s agenda included: claims processing techniques, services and outreach for underserved populations, human trafficking, domestic violence dynamics and information for effectively utilizing VOCA grant funding to benefit crime victims.
Restitution collection was also a prominent topic at this year’s VOCA National Training Conference. California’s Restitution and Recovery Program has been in existence for over 16 years. “The outreach efforts we have made to probation officers, district attorneys and judges started in the 1990s,” said Chip Skinner, “and still continues strongly today”.
CalVCP, the nation’s largest victim compensation program, participated in the conference’s “Large-State Compensation Managers Roundtable”. The roundtable provided an opportunity to discuss topics with other boards which have substantial programs and the issues that accompany the sizeable programs.
A common theme throughout the meetings and discussions at this year’s conference was the impact of a struggling economy on victims and victim compensation programs. Many states are experiencing a shortage of funds and for some programs Federal funding is currently their only stable source of financial support.
“It was interesting to listen to how the other state’s compensation programs differ.” said Skinner, “[This conference] allowed representatives from across the nation to discuss unique issues and share ideas that may benefit struggling states”. The VOCA Training Conference was an important opportunity for CalVCP to access expert input, and share ideas and beneficial program models with those who do similar work throughout the United States.
Board Meeting Alerts Go Green!
Beginning this October, Board Meeting Alerts for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board will follow the rest of the Board’s conservation efforts by going paperless. Notifications about upcoming Board Meetings and the agenda postings will now go out to via email ten days before each Board Meeting and will also be available on the public website. For more information about these alerts, including how to join the email list, please contact the Board at (888) 525-7157 or by email at email@example.com.
CalVCP Hearing Procedure Regulations (C.C.R. § 647.1 – § 648.6)
Effective September 2, 2009, the CalVCP Hearing Procedure Regulations were amended for clarity and purpose. The hearing regulations clarify the hearing officer’s authority in overseeing the conduct of the hearing and also eliminates certain superfluous regulations such as 647.34 “Copies of Submitted Materials.” Regulation 647.34 required applicants to provide five copies of written materials at hearings, as non-substantive and non-material. Staff no longer needs applicants to submit multiple copies of written materials as the CalVCP program now uses an electronic filing system and multiple copies of written materials are unnecessary.
The CalVCP Hearing Procedure Regulations also specify that not all CalVCP hearings are open to the public, unless the applicant or applicant representative requests that the hearing be public. Government Code section 13959 states that a victim may request a hearing to be closed if it involves a minor, sexual assault, or domestic violence.
To view the amended regulations please visit the Regulations tab at www.vcgcb.ca.gov. If you have any questions regarding the amended regulation text, please contact the Regulations Analyst at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calendar of Events
October 29 - November 1, 2009
California Council of the Blind Fall 2009 Convention
The California Council of the Blind is a statewide organization with the mission to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity and quality of life for all visually impaired and blind Californians. The Council provides information, referrals, technical assistance, advocacy, leadership development, publications, emergency funds, loans for accessible technology and scholarships. The 2009 Fall Convention theme is “Celebrating 75 years of Advocacy and Service”.
CalVCP will be sharing information about the financial assistance available to members of this community who have been victims of crime by providing materials printed in Braille. We are also glad to support the organization and its wonderful mission.
November 12, 2009
Criminal Restitution Collection Training at the Marin County Probation Department
Marin County, CA
Kyle Hedum, Staff Counsel, Estee Coloma-Anderson and Melanie Bown from Fiscal Services, will be providing restitution training at the Marin County Probation Department.
November 16 - 17, 2009
Cultural Competence and Mental Health Summit 2009
Hosted by San Mateo County, this summit will unite over 500 service providers, health professionals, clients, family members, community/business leaders, policy makers, educators, researchers and others to address the impact of culture and language on healthcare disparities. The event is also intended to promote dialogue among communities on strategies to build healthier communities.
CalVCP has been given the opportunity to interact with providers and attendees. Staff will answer their billing and eligibility questions and provide information about CalVCP’s mental health treatment benefits for patients who have been victims.
November 21, 2009
Minority Health Conference
Los Angeles, CA
The 2009 Minority Health Conference, held at UCLA, addresses health disparities and raises awareness of health issues for minorities in the Southern California community.
This event will allow CalVCP to interact with the minority healthcare providers to ensure awareness of the financial assistance available for their patients who may have crime-related expenses.
December 4, 2009
Fresno Police Officers’ Association
The Patrol Shift Matrix is an annual gathering of Fresno Police Officers. CalVCP has been invited to share valuable First Responder information with the officers and others in the local law enforcement community.
Outreach Spotlight: “Walk Like MADD”
The local Sacramento chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organized the annual “Walk Like MADD” fundraiser on October 17, 2009 in Southside Park in Sacramento. The fundraiser was a 5K non-competitive walk to support MADD’s “Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving” and to prevent underage drinking. The proceeds also supported the organization’s resources for victims and their families.
A CalVCP booth visitor, Jennifer Blackburn attended the event in memory of her friend, Jessica, who was a victim of drunk driving. “The Victim Compensation Program was very, very helpful to Jessica’s family.” Blackburn remarked.
State of California
Secretary, State and
Consumer Services Agency
San Bernardino County