New state legislation expanding benefits for New York crime victims is now in effect.
The law signed into law last summer allows individuals who have been victims of hate crimes or certain domestic violence crimes to apply for reimbursement of shelter costs and crime scene cleanup costs. That reimbursement will come from the state Office of Victim Services.
Previously, victims who were not physically injured during the crime were only eligible for crime-related expenses, such as counseling and moving expenses.
"OVS is committed to helping all innocent victims of crime, and that includes those who may have not sustained a physical injury," said OVS Director Elizabeth Cronin. "The emotional effects of a crime can be just as damaging to an individual."
"By expanding this program through the Office of Victim Services, we can ensure that more innocent crime victims have the resources they need to recover from their ordeal," said State Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma). "Widening the safety net will help residents across the state."
The state said the legislation change comes at no cost to taxpayers.
"Funding for crime victims' compensation and reimbursement, as well as the Office of Victim Services' day-to-day operations comes entirely from the fines, mandatory surcharges and crime victim assistance fees that certain offenders must pay following conviction in New York State or federal courts," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.