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Guide to Federal Victim & Witness Assistance (Video)

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
0 pages
This videotape discusses victims’ rights and techniques that U.S. Interior Department law enforcement officers use during investigations.
A quarter of a million crimes are committed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Interior Department. The Department employs 6,000 law enforcement personnel. Their duties are to protect natural, cultural, and recreational resources and to protect the public. The rights of criminals are well known but until the late 1970's and early 1980's the rights of victims were not. The Victim and Witness Protection Act (1982) was the first Federal legislation to provide assistance to victims and witnesses. It was followed by the Victims of Crime Act and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which were enacted to empower victims and witnesses of crimes. Interior Department law enforcement officers must identify the victims and witnesses of crimes and inform them of their rights. The Victims Bill of Rights are the right to be treated with fairness and respect; to be reasonably protected; to be notified of court proceedings; to be present at all court proceedings unless it would affect the victim’s testimony; to confer with an attorney for the Government; to restitution; and to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender. The three stages of victimization are impact (shock, frozen fright, and disorientation), recoil (fear, anger, confusion, shame, guilt, and grief), and reorganization (reconstruction of life, dealing with emotions, and pain). Victims in national parks feel it is safer there and the crime has more of an impact on them. When a law enforcement officer deals with the victim after a crime has been committed, he or she uses the “you, we, I” technique, which is considered to be psychological first aid. The “you” part of the technique focuses on the victim and offers validation and an opportunity to vent. During the “we” part of the technique, the officer reassures the victim that he or she is not alone and offers what they will do together to find the offender. The “I” part of the technique allows the officer to ask open-ended non-leading questions to aid in the investigation of the crime.