Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced that his office recommended more than $15 million be awarded to survivors of violent crime in 2022 through his office’s Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Program. This is more compensation for victims in one calendar year than the Attorney General’s office recommended in 2019, 2020 and 2021 combined. The milestone comes as new protections for crime victims in Illinois also go into effect.
Since taking office, Raoul has initiated new, victim-centric changes to the law that regulates the program, as well as internal policy changes. As a result, the Attorney General’s Violence Prevention and Crime Victim Services Division is now resolving more victims’ claims and providing larger reimbursements. During the 2022 calendar year, the division processed 163% more claims and recommended 216% more in compensation awards than 2021. Since the 2017 federal grant fiscal year, the average award has increased by 143%.
“I am committed to ensuring that survivors of crime and their families receive the services they need to support their recoveries. I am proud of the progress my Violence Prevention and Crime Victim Services Division has been able to make so far in my tenure, as we have committed to curbing and addressing violent crime throughout the state,” Raoul said. “My goal is to continue to increase the amount of compensation given and the number of victims served, which is critical to stopping the cycle of violent crime in Illinois.”
The Attorney General’s office is also highlighting some additional protections for crime victims that have gone into effect in the new year.
Starting in 2023, the office will take on an expanded role in advocating for crime victims. The office can now receive complaints, investigate allegations and make recommendations to address violations of crime victims’ rights.
Illinois is also now one of the first states in the nation to mandate that medical forensic examinations for sexual assault survivors be performed by a qualified medical provider like a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner, or a Child Abuse Pediatrician, within 90 minutes of a victim’s arrival at a treatment hospital. Survivors are also eligible to receive 180 days of free follow-up health care and can opt out of having their private insurance billed if they are not the primary policyholder. These changes will allow for more survivors to receive confidential medical forensic services.
The Attorney General’s office developed the Illinois SANE program in 2003 with assistance from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault using a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. SANEs are crucial in ensuring that individuals who have been sexually assaulted receive evidence-based, trauma-informed, patient-centered medical forensic services. These specially-trained nurses reduce the retraumatization of patients, address patients’ medical concerns and improve the quality of evidence collection, which in turn increases prosecution and conviction rates.
Each year, the Illinois SANE Program offers 40-hour Adult/Adolescent SANE didactic trainings, 40-hour Pediatric/Adolescent SANE didactic trainings, two-day Adult/Adolescent SANE Clinical trainings, and one-day Foundation to Provide Sexual Assault Patient Care in the Emergency Room trainings throughout Illinois. A 64-hour Combined Adult/Adolescent and Pediatric/Adolescent SANE didactic training was recently added to the SANE Program, and a Pediatric/Adolescent SANE Clinical Training is expected in 2023. All trainings are free of charge. For additional information about the SANE Program or to sign up for SANE trainings, please visit the Attorney General’s website.
For additional information on services for crime victims or to report a violation of victims’ rights, please call the Attorney General’s Crime Victims Assistance Line at 1-800-228-3368 or visit the Attorney General’s website.