A Texas Victim Assistance Timeline, Part I
The Crime Victim Rights Week Guide published by the Office for Victims of Crime contains a timeline for national milestones in victim assistance. It is often helpful to review the history of victim rights especially when financial and legislative issues are at stake. It is always interesting to note that the issue transcends politics with early champions like the liberal Ralph Yarborough and the conservative Ronald Reagan. We are in the process of updating our timeline for Texas events. Your input is welcomed. Thank you to Barry Macha, former Criminal District Attorney in Wichita County, for his.
��� 1965��� U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas introduces the first federal crime victims’ compensation bill in Congress (S.2155).
��� 1977��� Harris County District Attorney Carol Vance establishes the first victims’ assistance program in a Texas prosecutor’s office. Suzanne McDaniel is the program director.
��� 1977��� Texas becomes one of the first states to pass legislation requiring law enforcement to pay for forensic sexual assault exams.
��� 1979��� The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Act establishes a fund to compensate victims of violent crime for their crime-related financial losses, to be administered by the Texas Industrial Accident Board.
��� The Texas Legislature also passes HB 1075, the first bill to provide protection and temporary shelter in a family-oriented environment for victims of domestic violence and their families until the victims may be properly assisted through counseling, medical care, legal assistance, and other aid. The act requires the Texas Department of Human Resources to contract for services with a maximum of 12 centers that provide shelter and services to victims of family violence with a maximum contract payment of $50,000 a year for each center. The act also amends the Family Code by adding Title 4 (Protection of the Family) and Chapter 71 (Protective Orders).
��� 1980��� The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Program is established on January 1 with revenues collected from court costs. A total of 1,060 claims were filed the first year and only $417,000 paid in reimbursements. It becomes apparent to administrators that insufficient funds are available and a waiting list for awards is established on December 1.
��� See the next issue for a continuation of the timeline!