“An Act amending victim compensation statute”
Families deal with physical, emotional, and financial stress in the aftermath of their loved one’s murder. Paying for funeral and burial services is a major burden, and some families of murder victims need financial assistance to lay their loved one to rest. Families can choose to apply for Victim Compensation in hopes they will be reimbursed for their loved one’s final expenses.
Too many families are re-traumatized when they are eventually denied by Victim Compensation because of a clause in the state statute that requires a family's claim be reduced or denied in the event their loved one "contributed to" their own death. When families are denied Victim Compensation, they're punished for their loved one's murder.
We believe it is a human right to lay your loved one to rest with respect and dignity, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their death.
Victim Compensation funding comes primarily from restitution, revoked bail, and other fees and fines paid by people convicted of crimes. Victim Compensation is a reimbursement fund of last resort. That means families, funeral homes, or cemeteries must present receipts and only receive payment for the cost of services when they are approved. Funerals and burials bring closure to families and communities after a traumatic incident and allow people to move
forward in their healing process.
The Peace Institute drafted legislation to amend victim compensation so that no families of homicide victims can be denied reimbursement for modest funeral and burial costs because of the circumstances surrounding their loved one's murder.
Representative Evandro Carvalho filed the bill, and Mayor Marty Walsh adopted H.742 as one of his legislative priorities.
Here is the current text of the statute:
(e) An offender or an accomplice of an offender shall not be eligible to receive compensation with respect to a crime committed by an offender. To the extent that the victim's acts or conduct provoked or contributed to the injuries, the division shall reduce or deny an award to the claimant or claimants in accordance with regulations enacted pursuant to section four.
Here’s what H.742 would do:
• Change “shall” to “may” in section e so the Attorney General’s office has the option to reimburse families of murder victims for modest funeral and burial costs regardless of the circumstances surrounding their death.
• Add to section e: “In the event of a victim’s death by homicide, said award may be reduced except the costs for appropriate and modest funeral, burial, and/or cremation services shall be paid by the fund.”
We have the opportunity to help families get the resources they need to start their healing journey.
Here's how you can support H.742!
1) Call, write, or meet with your State Rep and Senator and ask them to support H.742
We’re happy to support you to prepare for that meeting. You can find your legislators here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
2) Call and email members of the Judiciary Committee and ask them to support H.742
Sample script for your phone call: "Hello, my name is ________________ . I’m calling to ask you as a member of the Judiciary Committee to report out favorably on H.742 "An Act amending Victim Compensation Statute" so that families of murder victims cannot be denied reimbursement for modest funeral and burial costs in their time of greatest need. All families deserve to lay their loved one to rest with respect so that they can begin the healing process. Please actively support H.742. Thank you."
Contact information for the Senators on the Judiciary Committee:
Contact information for the Representatives on the Judiciary Committee:
3) Prepare testimony and attend the hearing for the bill.
Email Alexandra@ldbpeaceinstitute.org if you want to join us! We hope you will.