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Victims' Rights Compliance Efforts: Experiences in Three States

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
Although all States have passed laws guaranteeing the rights of crime victims to participate in the criminal justice system, victims' rights programs differ by State in their structure and scope.
Victims of Crime in Colorado, for example, can file complaints with the State's Victims Compensation and Assistance Coordinating Committee when they feel their rights have been denied. Wisconsin's Office of Crime Victims Services provides a similar function through the Victim Resource Center. Minnesota has appointed a crime victims' ombudsman to advocate for fairness and impartiality on behalf of victims who are seeking services from the State. The creation of a victims' rights compliance enforcement function gives State policymakers and administrators an opportunity to review and assess the status of victims' rights implementation and the delivery of victim services. When State officials begin planning victims' rights compliance enforcement, they need to consider what agency or individual should be accountable for the compliance effort, what type of compliance enforcement system will work most effectively within the State's political context, the role and support of other groups involved in victim issues, the appropriateness of creating remedies for agency violations of victims' rights laws, the viability of creating a victims' rights compliance system, alternative functions and responsibilities of a victims' rights compliance system, and the use of evaluation tools and techniques. Experiences of victims' rights compliance efforts in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are described.