New Jersey has a new law that is designed to expand support for crime victims in the Garden State.

The Victims of Crime Compensation Office already was providing help to victims and close relatives of victims of serious offenses such as murder, manslaughter, assault, burglary and sex crimes.

Under the new law, victims of simple assault, leaving the scene of an accident and disorderly conduct also could be eligible.

“It’s a way that we can make sure people that have been harmed are made whole again," said Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso.

She said people who have been assaulted, robbed or victimized in other ways need emotional help as well financial support so that they "don’t have to go without food or go without some other necessity in order to pay an attorney’s fee or pay a medical bill they have because a crime was committed against them.”

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DiMaso said the procedures followed by the Victims of Crime Compensation Office needed to be reviewed and some were changed because “people were not being compensated the way they needed to be compensated for the suffering they endured.”

The new law increases the time limit for filing a claim from three to five years after injury related to a crime, and it requires the Victims of Crime Compensation Office to make an eligibility determination more quickly.

She noted it also increases the amount of attorneys’ fees that may be awarded by the Victims of Crime Compensation Office.

The statute also authorizes the Office to provide to a homicide victim’s spouse, child, parent or domestic partner a limited financial award for funeral benefits, mental health counseling, loss of support for dependent children.

Additionally it increases the maximum award to compensate for funds stolen from a victim from $200 to $1,000, and it expands the definition of a victim to include the parent of a child who is killed during a crime.

More information is available on the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Office website.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com