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Rights of Crime Victims--Does Legal Protection Make a Difference?-Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1998
11 pages
Publication Series
This paper reports on a survey of more than 1,300 crime victims to determine whether State constitutional amendments and other legal measures designed to protect crime victims' rights have been effective.
All States have some form of statutory protection of victims' rights, and more than half have constitutional amendments protecting those rights. Strong victims' rights made a difference, but in many instances, even where there was strong legal protection, victims' needs were not fully met. More than one in four victims from two strong-protection States were very dissatisfied with the criminal justice system. Nearly half were not notified of the sentence hearing, and they were as unlikely as victims in weak-protection States to be informed of plea negotiations. Substantial proportions of victims in both strong- and weak-protection States were not notified of other rights and services, including the right to be informed about protection and to discuss the case with the prosecutor. Strong legal protection appears to be a necessary but not a sufficient condition for ensuring the protection of crime victims' rights. Figures, notes

Date Published: December 1, 1998