Victims' services, like the cost of mental health counseling, lost wages and health care, are set to expand in New York under a measure signed into law recently by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The measure will add crimes of gross reckless endangerment to the roster of offenses for victims to qualify for support from New York's Office of Victim Services. Previously victims who only suffered physical harm were covered in the state.
The new law will expand eligibility for victims who do not have physical wounds sustained by a crime, but have still suffered from a criminal charge in the first or second degree. That includes incidents in which people are nearly struck by a bullet or a speeding car, and may still suffer from trauma of the incident.
“In New York, we believe strongly in protecting and uplifting all victims," Hochul said. "This legislative package allows victims that have not been physically injured to still obtain compensation for other impacts of various crimes, taking an important step to help victims seek the justice they deserve."
The cost of cleaning and securing a crime scene will also be considered reimbursable expenses.
The law was backed by state Sen. Julia Salazar and Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar. It will take effect by the end of the year. Pennsylvania, Connecitcut, New Jersey and Vermont have similar services for victims in place.
“New York state will now empower crime victims, giving them the support they need to get back on their feet after crimes of gross reckless endangerment that leave emotional and mental scars," Rajkumar said. "With the signing of my bill, we are recognizing that all victims of serious crimes need our help."