MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - More victims of sexual assault and human trafficking would be able to obtain funding for mental health services under a proposal being circulated at the State Capitol. It’s called Lindsey’s Law, and would expand the eligibility window for victims to apply for mental health treatment dollars through the state’s crime victim’s fund. The bill is named for a victim that sought help, but was denied because of current restrictions.
State Representative Mandy Wright says right now, ability to receive funds from the crime victim fund expires after a year. The proposal by Wright, Representative Evan Goyke, and Senator Julie Lassa would change that. “The ability to receive any funds as a victim of a crime expires after a year, and you have to have reported that crime within five days after it happened. We want to expand the possibility for victims to receive funds simply for mental health services, and specifically if you’re a sexual assault victim or a victim of human trafficking.”
Wright says the five day reporting window is too short, as many victims were unable to too afraid to report the crime within that time limit. “Those are the types of crimes people don’t really start to come to terms with until much later in their lives, and as long as it falls within the statute of limitations for the prosecution of those crimes, you can apply for funds for mental health services if you are a victim of one of those crimes (if this measure becomes law).”
Wright began circulating the bill last week, and says support is growing. “It’s very early, but all reports are positive. The Sexual Assault Network in Wisconsin is supportive, and so we are looking forward to getting a lot more support as word gets out.” Wright added, “We feel it’s a very reasonable, relatively inexpensive modification to a program that already exists.”
Wright says the bill will be formally introduced after it is circulated for co-sponsors at the Capitol. She says there has interest from some members in both political parties.
(The entire interview with Representative Wright can be heard on our Newsmaker's Interview podcast, here."