Women experience violence in so many ways in the United States, from physical abuse and sexual assault to domestic violence, stalking, and human trafficking. Whatever form it takes, violence against women can have serious long-term physical and emotional effects and is a crime. Too often, women shoulder the burden of healing from their victimization without the range of support they need. In addition to community-based services, benefits are available through the California Victim Compensation Board (Cal VCB). While these benefits are often reimbursable, there are exceptions and asking if a benefit can be paid as an emergency award is worth exploring so women and families don’t end up with even more hardship during a painful time.
In the most extreme example, few families are prepared to pay funeral expenses for a loved one, especially a young person who is the victim of homicide. Unfortunately, domestic violence and human trafficking can end in this level of violence. Consider that in 2018, 192 women were murdered in California by men, with 88% knowing the offender. More recently, in 2020, at least four Black women and girls were murdered per day in the United States, according to newspapers reporting statistics released by the FBI. This is a sharp increase compared with the year before. Here in Sacramento, a beautiful 17-year-old was killed on January 13th. In September 2020, a 19-year-old with her entire future ahead of her, was killed in a shooting. No one is helped by not discussing these grim and startling statistics.
As families grapple with the violence and an untimely death, they deserve justice, community support, and easy access to any benefit created to assist with recovery and healing. The Cal VCB application process can be completed online, through a service provider or victim assistance office, or with a paper application. If emergency funding is needed, it can be requested on the initial application. After an applicant receives an ID#, they can coordinate needed services, including counseling, relocation, and funeral arrangements. If the crime is still under investigation, an in-lieu of crime report can be used to apply for benefits.
As a community, we can all be prepared to assist families impacted by violence. People can be referred to service providers AND we can step in from wherever we are with an offer to help. We MUST bring awareness to this escalating problem, while offering practical assistance, so our families get what they need after a tragedy. Cal VCB, information is listed here, and more information is a phone call away at 1-800-777-9229.