FAQ

1. What services are provided by the Victim Services Unit?
The Victim Services Unit provides or arranges comprehensive services to victims, including: crisis intervention, emergency assistance, information and referral, information about and support through the criminal justice system, and assistance in filing for compensation from the State Board of Control’s Victims of crime Program.

2. Does it matter what type of crime was committed and does someone need to be arrested before the DA’s program can help?
The Victim Services Unit provides assistance to victims of all types of crime, but most often services are requested by those who have suffered physical or emotional injury. Even though the program is located in the District Attorney’s Office, it is not necessary for someone to be arrested and prosecuted in order for the Victim Services Unit to provide assistance.

What are the differences between an advocate and a claims specialist?
An advocate is the person you first con in contact with when filing a claim with the Victim Compensation Program (VCP). An advocate assists victims in filing VCP applications, provides information, accompanies victims to court and answers questions regarding the criminal justice system. The advocate also can provide referrals for resources such as housing relocation, medical and mental health providers as well as funeral/burial information.

Claims specialists are the persons who interface directly with the Victim Compensation Program by processing local claims. Specialists determine eligibility for the VCP and do the actual processing of wage and support losses. Specialists also process the payments of medical, mental health, funeral/burial, as well as relocation expenses.

3. What type of losses are covered by the Victims of Crime Fund?
Medical/Dental
Mental Health Counseling
Financial Support
Funeral/Burial
Job Retraining

4. What types of losses are not covered by the Victims of Crime Program?
Personal property, including cash
Expenses related to appearing in court against the perpetrator
Pain and suffering

However, these losses maybe recoverable either through court-ordered restitution as part of a convicted perpetrator’s criminal sentence, or through the enforcement of a judgment obtained in a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator.

5.Can a crime victim choose their own service provider or does the Victim Compensation Program refer victims to certain doctors, therapists, etc?
A victim can choose their own service provider or VCP can give him or her a referral.

6.Are services free?
Yes. All services provided by the Victim Services Unit are provided free of charge.

7. Who is eligible to file a victim compensation claim?
A “victim” who was injured or died as a result of crime
A child who witnesses domestic violence
A “derivative victim” who was not directly injured or killed as a result of a crime but who, at the time of the crime, was a resident of California, AND
Was the parent, sibling, spouse or child of the victim;
Was living with the victim at the time of the crime;

OR
Had lived with the victim for at least two years in a relationship similar to a parent, sibling, spouse, or child of the victim

OR
Anyone who pays for the medical and/or funeral/burial expenses of a deceased victim.

7. Who is not eligible to file a claim for victim compensation?
Persons who commit the crime.
Persons who contributed to or took part in the events leading to a crime.
Persons who do not cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of known suspects.
Persons who do not cooperate with the staff of the Victim Compensation Board and/or the Victim Services Unit in the verification of the claim.

8. What requirements must be met in order to file a claim for victim compensation?
The crime must have occurred in California, or if the crime occurred outside of California, the victim must have been a California resident at the time of the crime.
The crime must be reported to the police, sheriff, highway patrol, or other appropriate law enforcement agency.
The victim must cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of any known suspect(s)
All other sources of reimbursement must be used first.

9. When is the deadline for filing a victim compensation claim?
Applications for adult victims must be filed within one year of the date of the crime. Applications resulting from crimes against a minor must be filed before the minor’s 19th birthday. The Board may, for “good case,” grant an extension for such applications filed up to three years after the date of the crime. As these limitations occasionally change, it is best to contact the San Francisco Victim Services Unit for help in filing a claim.

10. How long will it take to receive an emergency wage loss from the VCP?
The VCP can process a wage loss within 30 days as long as the following information is in your file:
Employment verification
Disability letter from your treating physician or mental health provider
Self-employed victims must wait for our office to receive your tax returns from the Franchise Tax Board, which may extend the time of our wage loss processing.

11. Where does the money for the Victim Compensation come from?
The VCP receives its money from fees and fines that offenders pay when convicted of a crime. Taxpayer funds are not used.

12. Who do I contact if I move or change providers?
If you move, please contact our office in writing of your change of address at:

Victim Compensation Program
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office
P.O. Box 77877
San Francisco, CA 94107

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