Padden bill to help crime victims passed by the Senate

Today the Senate unanimously voted to approve Sen. Mike Padden’s measure to allow a parent of a minor child who is the victim of a crime to receive benefits under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.

“There really is no amount of money that can make up for damage done to a child who is victimized, but those who do commit these crimes should at least be held responsible for the financial harms they cause these families,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “This bill will help families whose lives are sent into disarray by court dates, hospital stays, trauma counseling and other financial burdens inflicted on them by criminals.”

Under Second Substitute Senate Bill 6181, the parent of a victim who is a minor would 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 would not be able to receive any benefits if the injury or death was due to the parent’s own actions.

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

“One of my constituents testified on this bill,” said Padden, who is the lead Republican on the Senate Law and Justice 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 victimized again, this time financially, as sick leave and vacation leave were quickly exhausted and medical bills stacked up.

“It’s time to address this problem, and I’m glad to see my Senate colleagues support this important measure to give these parents at least some relief.”

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.