KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Kern County is no stranger to crime, including a record number of homicides last year. The aftermath of these situations can be mentally and financially taxing, which is why a California program wants to help relieve some of that stress.
Every year the California Victim Compensation Board provides millions of dollars to thousands of people statewide, including our neighbors, with hundreds of victims here in Kern County.
“We are the payer of last resort, which means that if you are a victim of a crime and you don't have insurance or the means to pay for bills that are a direct result of that crime then we are here to help.”
Since 1965 Lynda Gledhill with the California Victim Compensation Board says this program has helped countless numbers of people, and the assistance comes in many forms.
“That could be medical bills that could be mental health bills that could be funeral burial, or relocation”
From July of 2019 to June of 2020 the board served nearly 51,000 people who received more than $58 million of compensation to victims in need. Some of this included funeral expenses paid for victims of a homicide or relocation expenses in a stalking case or a robbery case.
“It's either the direct victim or derivative victim which might be a direct relationship with the victim usually a parent or spouse or child.”
The maximum amount that can be paid is $70,000 according to the state’s website. Gledhill says in many cases the victim will need to provide a crime report in order to receive compensation, but there are some exceptions.
“With domestic violence or sexual assault, we might be able to take a document from a physician or mental health provider who tells us the bill is directly related to the crime, but we will need some verification documents.”
There are some limitations too, including for those who didn’t follow the law.
“If the deceased victim was believed to be involved in the crime, then they are not eligible for compensation, parolees are not eligible and if you did not cooperate with law enforcement that also disqualifies you”
If you or someone you know is a victim of one of these crimes check the following websites: