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Crime Victims' Handbook 2003

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2003
64 pages
This handbook provides crime victims in California with information about the criminal justice system and crime victims’ rights.
While criminal defendants in the United States enjoy rights protected by the United States Constitution, victims of crimes have not, until recently, had their rights so clearly enumerated. California was the first State to pass legislation providing for crime victim compensation and has continued to pass numerous victim friendly bills. Following the foreword, the services available to crime victims at California’s numerous county victim/witness assistance centers are reviewed and include assistance with filing for victim compensation, follow-up counseling, and employer intervention services. The next section outlines the criminal justice system, reviewing the role of law enforcement and the prosecutor and describing the types of criminal offenses dealt with in both adult and juvenile courts. The judicial system is considered next, including an overview of the court system and various court proceedings, such as arraignment, motions, and settlement conferences. Victims’ rights and victim compensation are reviewed in the following two sections, including a discussion of victims’ rights concerning the return of personal property and the right not to be threatened. Eligibility requirements for California’s Victim’s Compensation Program are enumerated; victims of violent crimes and their families may be eligible for reimbursement for monetary loss due to physical or emotional injury. Services for crime victims after the offender has been convicted are described and tips on seeking civil litigation are provided. Resources for victim assistance are listed, as are the phone numbers of the county victim/witness assistance centers. Glossary