All the components of the criminal justice have the same goal in mind: preventing and fighting crime. Preventing and fighting crime also includes providing services for the victims of the crimes. Although the main focus on the criminal justice system is to arrest, prosecute and rehabilitate the criminal, many forget to focus on the victim. The National Organization for Victims Assistance was found in 1975 and is the oldest national group providing assistance to victims of crime and crisis. The Law enforcement community needs to ensure the safety of the victim before, during, and after a conviction. Many times the victims of crimes are forgotten or left out of the notification process when the criminal has been apprehended, prosecutes, sentenced, or released from the system. By examining the history and effectiveness of victim rights legislation and programs, the goals of victim’s rights will become clearer.
History of Victims Rights
The concept of victims’ rights is relatively new idea. Linda R S v. Richard D (1972) was the case that opened the door for victims’ rights. The Supreme Court ruled in Linda V. Richard that “a private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of another” (Lewis, 2010, para 5). From that case, the idea of victims’ rights would explode and the next 10 years would be one of immense expansion for victims.
Before the national government would recognize victims need for legal rights, small organizations would start to make minor changes in their respective areas. In 1972, Summit County in Ohio created the Victim Assistance Program. Seeing that the county offered 35 free services for the offenders and nothing for victims infuriated local...
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...tim Law Institute. Retrieved on November 6, 2010 from www.lclark.edu/law/centers/national_crime_victim_law_institute/about_ncli/history_of_victims_rights/
National Organization for Victim Assistance. Crime Victims and Witness Rights. Retrieved November 7, 2010, from www.trynova.org/Victims/cwrights.html.
Prison Fellowship International Centre for Justice and Reconciliation (n.d.) Restorative justice online: definitions of restorative justice by victims and their advocates, retrieved on November 5, 2010, from http://www.restorativejustice.org/victim-support/definitions-of-restorative-justice-by-victims-and-their-advocates
VALOR. (2005). History of VALOR. Retrieved on November 6, 2010 from www.valor_national.org/hisotory.html.
Victims Assistance Program. (2010). About us. Retrieved on November 6, 2010 from www.victimassistanceprogram.org/about_history.html.
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