SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – California prostitutes who are attacked or assaulted will once again eligible for money from a state fund that compensates victims of violent crimes, a spokesman said Thursday.

The board that oversees the California Victim Compensation Program has voted to overturn a rule prohibiting prostitutes from receiving money from the state.

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“Victims deserve their rights,” said Jon Myers, spokesman for the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims board. “Sex worker or not, they’re a victim.”

The money often helps covers medical costs, loss of income and other expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the crime.

The board decided to revisit the prohibition against compensating prostitutes earlier this year after voting to allow victims of human trafficking to receive state compensation money.

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“Many of these victims are forced into sex slavery, and that really raised questions,” Myers said.

He noted that prevailing attitudes about the nature of prostitution have changed since the rule barring sex workers from victim compensation on the grounds that they engaged in criminal activity was adopted in the late 1990s.

The unanimous vote Thursday was just the first step. Myers said full repeal would take several more months.

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