Just recently, the Office of the Attorney General announced new rate increases to the Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) program. This is the first increase to some claim limits since the 1990s. From January 1, 1980 to June 30, 2016, the program paid out $1.45 billion involving 225,698 victim applications.
The increased limits will take effect for violent offenses committed on or after July 15, 2016. Here are some of the changes:
• Funeral and burial limits have been increased from $4,500 to $6,500.
• The loss of earnings and loss of support benefits go from a maximum of $500 per week to $700.
• Reimbursing child care expenses increased from $100 per child per week to $300.
• The crime scene clean-up limit went from $750 to $2,250.
• Reimbursement for a sexual assault exam went from $700 to $1,000.
• Reimbursement for property seized at a crime scene increased from $750 to $1,000.
For a detailed list of the new Texas CVC program claim limits go to www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cvs/crime-victims-compensation-reimbursable-expenses. And for more information about the Texas CVC program, including eligibility requirements, go to www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cvs/crime-victims-compensation.
TDCAA’s Key Personnel & Victim Assistance Coordinator Seminar will be November 2–4 at the Embassy Suites in San Marcos. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best speakers in Texas and to network with prosecutor’s staff from across the state. A bonus: The hotel is within a few minutes’ shuttle ride to two major outlet malls! Visit www.tdcaa.com/training/key-personnel-victim-assistance-coordinator-seminar for registration and hotel information. We would love to see you there!
Key Personnel and Victim Services Board Elections
Elections for the 2017 Key Personnel and Victim Services Boards (Regions 1, 3, 5, and 7) will be on November 3 at 1:15 p.m. at the KP/VAC Seminar in San Marcos. (See the map, below, to find out what region you’re in.)
Both boards assist in preparing and developing operational procedures, standards, training, and educational programs. Regional representatives serve as a point of contact for their region. To be eligible, each candidate must have the permission of her elected prosecutor, attend the elections at the annual seminar, and must have paid membership dues prior to the meeting. The bylaws for the Victim Services board and FAQs about running for the boards are posted at www.tdcaa.com/victim-services.
Professional Victim Assistance Coordinator recognition
Certification as a Professional Victim Assistance Coordinator (PVAC) is designed to recognize professionalism in prosecutor-based victim assistance and to acknowledge a minimum standard of training in the field. Applicants must provide victim assistance through a prosecutor’s office and be or become a member of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association in the Key Personnel category to be eligible for this recognition.
Other requirements include:
• either three years’ experience providing direct victim services for a prosecutor’s office or five years’ experience in the victim services field, one of which has to be providing prosecutor-based victim assistance;
• training recognized for CLE, TCOLE, social work, and/or licensed professional counselor educational credits;
• at least one workshop on the following topics:
* prosecutor victim assistance coordinator duties under Chapter 56 of the Code of Criminal Procedure;
* the rules and application process for Crime Victims’ Compensation;
* the impact of crime on victims and survivors; or
* crisis intervention and support counseling.
• applicants must show that they have already received 45 total hours of training in victim services (which is equivalent to the number of hours in the National Victim Assistance Academy program created by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime). Please note that training documentation may no longer be readily available for coordinators with extensive experience, especially in the case of basic training on CCP Chapter 56. An applicant who has 10 years’ experience in direct victim services (five of which must be in a prosecutor’s office) may sign an affidavit stating that the training requirement has been met in lieu of providing copies of training receipts.
• five professional references from individuals not related to the applicant. One must be from the elected prosecutor in the jurisdiction where the applicant has been employed and at least one of the letters must be from a representative from a local victim services agency in the community who has worked with the applicant for one year or longer. The remaining three letters can be from other victim services agencies, crime victims, law enforcement representatives, assistant prosecutors, or other criminal justice professionals who have knowledge of the applicant’s skills and abilities in the field of victim services.
The next deadline for submitting PVAC applications is January 31, 2017. Applications can be found (as a PDF download) below.
Thank you to each of the offices that invited me to come out for victim services assistance. Traveling across Texas and visiting each of your offices is so exciting to me! It is such an honor to be able to help victim assistance coordinators (VACs) and prosecutors recognize the services and resources available for crime victims and to share ideas on how VACs may assist the prosecutors with whom they work.
Please reach out to me at [email protected], and I will develop either group or individualized victim services training for your office.