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FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1998202/307-0703



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today announced the release of a comprehensive report on victims' rights and services, "New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century." The report contains 250 recommendations from the victims field, including crime victims, victims advocates, criminal justice practitioners, health professionals and researchers.

"This historic document reflects the scope of the victims movement and the monumental changes that have taken place on behalf of crime victims during the past two decades," said Reginald Robinson, Acting Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, the agency that released the report. "New Directions will be a valuable resource as we continue our efforts to improve rights and services for crime victims in the new millennium."

This report, the first of its kind since the Final Report of the 1982 President's Task Force on Victims of Crime, identifies hundreds of innovative public policy initiatives and community partnerships -- from children's advocacy centers and one-stop victim service centers to new technologies -- that are revolutionizing the treatment of America's crime victims.

New Directions focuses on what professionals in the fields of criminal justice, health care, mental health, law, education, faith, business and news media can do to enhance their services to crime victims. The report also identifies gaps that exist in victims' rights and services, such as the lack of consistent rights for crime victims, training on victims' issues at every level of our educational system, comprehensive, quality services for all crime victims, and the involvement of victims throughout the criminal justice process.

Specific recommendations note the increasing problem of school violence and the many important initiatives that the educational community can undertake -- from training to providing services -- to enhance services for victims. New Directions also highlights the medical costs of crime victimization each year, and the role that the medical community plays not only in meeting the physical needs of crime victims, but also in providing information about rights and services.

The report contains a chapter on international dimensions in victims services, an emerging area not addressed by the 1982 Task Force. New Directions also stresses the need to reach out to victims who do not receive any services because of a lack of information, language or cultural barriers, and disabilities.

At a gathering recently held in Washington, the Attorney General thanked the report's more than 1,000 contributors for their work. New Directions was developed over three years and is based on the submission of working papers, focus groups, surveys, public hearings and reaction groups. Although the document was supported by OVC, the report and recommendations represent views from the field and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Justice Department. In addition, due to the number of contributors who participated, all of the recommendations may not represent the views of every contributor.

For more information about OVC or to obtain a copy of the report, contact the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872, or visit OVC's website at



After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 888/582-6750