Governor signs Padden bill to compensate parents of crime victims who are minors

Today Gov. Jay Inslee signed Sen. Mike Padden’s bill to allow a parent of a minor child who is the victim of a crime to receive benefits under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. The measure passed both the state House and Senate unanimously earlier this year.

“I am glad that the governor agreed with me and my colleagues that we have a duty to provide parents with some relief when their lives and the lives of their children are thrown into upheaval by a criminal,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley.

“There was a lot of criminal-justice legislation this year, but this will be the only new law that is focused on supporting crime victims and their families.”

Under the law created by Second Substitute Senate Bill 6181, the parent of a victim who is a minor will be able to recover up to 30 days’ lost wages due to time spent accompanying the child to medical or counseling services or criminal-justice proceedings. Parents will not be able to receive any benefits if the injury or death was due to the parent’s own actions.

The victim’s parent will be able to apply for benefits up to three years after the date the crime was reported to law enforcement.

Padden said the law would help Washingtonians like Kasandra Turner, a constituent of his, who testified on the bill when it was in committee. Two of her children were victims of sexual abuse. She faced several court appearances and both of her daughters ended up being diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. One daughter was hospitalized, and both are now in costly therapy. The family ended up being financially devastated, as sick leave and vacation leave were quickly exhausted and medical bills stacked up.

“This new law will help these families deal with the financial burdens that have been inflicted on them by criminals,” said Padden. “Lost wages and bills from accompanying their child to court proceedings, medical appointments or counseling services can be too much to bear.

“In these difficult economic times, the last thing parents need is to take another financial hit because their child was the victim of a crime.”

SB 6181 will go into effect on June 11.