Crime Victim Compensation in a Post-9/11 World
Juile Goldscheid, "Crime Victim Compensation in a Post-9/11 World," originally published in 79 Tul. L. Rev. 167 (2004). Reprinted with the permission of the Tulane Law Review, which holds the copyright.
52 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2005 Last revised: 14 Aug 2014
In this article, Professor Goldscheid explores the barriers to economic independence faced by victims of domestic and sexual violence by comparing the government programs for those victims with the federal September 11 Victim Compensation Fund created for victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, another group of victims systematically impacted by violence. Professor Goldscheid chronicles and compares the history, rationales and underlying theories that animate the programs. She argues that the programs contain different, but opposite, flaws. Neither is driven by a coherent theoretical foundation or a methodical analysis of victims' economic realities in the aftermath of the violence. She concludes that the tremendous differences in program approach are not warranted by the differences in program purpose or victims' experience.
Professor Goldscheid argues that future compensation programs for victims of domestic and sexual violence should maximize cost spreading and should redress the systemic unavailability of traditional systems of recovery. She proposes an approach that is grounded in empirical data describing the reality of victims' experiences and that eliminates vestiges of bias against victims of domestic and sexual violence. The approach would generally retain the modest award structure of the state programs, but would integrate the September 11 Fund's overall approach to victims, marked by meaningful efforts to address their resulting unmet practical needs, by extensive public education and outreach and by efforts to encourage participation and maximize program utilization. She cautions against the dangers of developing a two-tier track of crime victim compensation programs - one for victims of terrorism and one for victims of other acts of violence - and identifies risks that such a dual system would present.
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