Gov. Hochul signs into law bill to support crime victims in their time of need

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar
Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar addresses a recent audience at Russo’s Banquet Hall in Queens.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, (D-AD 38) Queens, who put forward a bill to support crime victims in their time of need, has announced that the A7502 measure, that aids victims of crimes of gross reckless endangerment, was recently signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.

Under this new law, victims of these crimes will be eligible for the costs of mental health counseling, lost wages, healthcare, and other crime-related expenses.

Assemblywoman Rajkumar stated: “New York state will now empower crime victims, giving them the support they need to get back on their feet after crimes of gross reckless endangerment that leave emotional and mental scars. With the signing of my bill, we are recognizing that all victims of serious crimes need our help.”

“I thank Governor Hochul and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for understanding this reality. This new law will ensure no technicalities stand in the way of a victim of a traumatizing crime receiving the aid they need.”

She added, “We also recognize that there is a moral obligation to help a crime victim with mental health counseling, lost wages, and the costs of cleaning and securing a crime scene, which can total in the tens of thousands of dollars. Being the victim of a crime incurs so much pain that we cannot allow the additional pain of crippling debt.”

The bill continues Assemblywoman Rajkumar’s record of legislative achievements in the 2021-22 session. She also supported bills expanding worker protections to domestic workers, as well as creating the first ever New York Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission to address issues facing the AAPI community.

According to Assemblywoman Rajkumar, the state Office of Victim Services focuses on reimbursing victims of crimes that physically harm the victim. Non-physical crimes are not covered. Rajkumar’s bill changes that so that crime victims who suffer trauma from the non-physical crime of gross reckless endangerment are also covered.  Specifically, the bill will expand eligibility to those without physical injuries who are the victims of reckless endangerment in the first or second degree.

The bill continues Assemblywoman Rajkumar’s record of legislative achievements in the 2021-22 session. She also passed bills expanding worker protections to domestic workers, as well as creating the first ever New York Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission to address issues facing the AAPI community.

For example, she said, crime victims such as those who narrowly avoided being struck by a bullet or speeding car — who are not injured but nonetheless suffered from a traumatic incident — will be eligible for benefits. The bill also adds the costs of cleaning and securing a crime scene as reimbursable expenses.

With the expansion of eligibility to non-physical crimes, New York state sets a national trend, with its victim compensation program becoming, similar to those of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont, among other states.

Governor Kathy Hochul said, “in New York we believe strongly in protecting and uplifting all victims. This legislative package allows victims that have not been physically injured to still obtain compensation for other impacts of various crimes — taking an important step to help victims seek the justice they deserve.”

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