Victim Experiences With Restitution and Compensation


Victims of a crime cannot apply for compensation if they have outstanding monetary sanctions, including outstanding tickets.

Victims of crimes in Arizona seeking restitution and compensation can often have difficulty navigating the system, encountering issues related to eligibility and allowable costs, administrative burdens, and multi-jurisdictional conflicts. Based on interviews with 94 individual victims in Arizona, this report shares their experiences seeking restitution and compensation. It provides a more comprehensive view of their wants and needs in response to the crime done to them. Recognizing that people ordered to pay restitution or fees for victim compensation funds may not be able to pay, and that financial compensation may not adequately repair the harm, researchers sought to identify alternatives to monetary compensation for victims. The report concludes with policy recommendations that address the needs of victims from the court and restitution process.

You can read the full text here.  

Key Findings:

  • Victims provided an array of alternatives for non-financial alternatives for restitution for people who cannot pay;
    • 23.7 percent of respondents support victim-focused alternatives, 
    • 18 percent of respondents support rehabilitative programs, and 
    • 16.5 percent of respondents support community-oriented alternatives. 
  • Respondents shared difficulty communicating with court actors, navigating bureaucratic forms and policies, and the length of time given to respond regarding proposed pleas and restitution requests as barriers to accessing restitution and compensation. 


  • Provide financial and non-financial alternatives on restitution and compensation forms; nonfinancial alternatives may include victim-focused requests, self-improvement activities, community service, or a combination.
  • Invest in a centralized online system that can track the progression of court cases, restitution, and compensation ordered and received.
  • Simplify the eligibility and application process.
Leslie Paik, Brittany Romanello, and Aaron Thompson
ASU T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics