Sep 7, 2020 in Law

Legal Avenues for Victims

A victim is defined as anybody harmed by an offense, people, and lawful entities. Victims have such rights as to be protected from the accused, to be notified of the public court, and also to be treated in a fair manner. Victims of Crimes are supposed to frequently give a testimony on a trial or even at the court proceedings. These people are very important as the central criminal justice organization cannot work in the absence of them. It is the mandate of the United States Attorney to ensure crime victims are treated in a right and fair manner by the criminal justice system. The paper aims to cover the history of victims and their compensations, the new legislations, and the changes in laws. The paper will also give comparisons and contrasts of the changes in the law as well as the suggestions to improve the way victim systems should be handled.

History of victims

The history of victims is manifest by people and motivation urged by an increasing social awareness originating from the year 1960s. The crime victims’ movement has a continued support from social strength, as well as the leadership of individuals with personally endured tragedy, and others with unexpected compassion and insight as onlookers to such kinds of tragedy. Crime victim study began in Europe following the World War Two, aiming to look forward to knowing the victim-criminal relationship. The ancient victim study theory speculated that the attitudes and deeds include the grounds for criminal behavior. The introduction of victim movement to the United States of America was a result of the works by the scholar named Stephen Shafer, who wrote the book The Victim and His Criminal, which became a piece of interest for any individual who was fascinated by the learning of crime victims and their conducts (Beloof, 2012).

The interest of the study of victims had been linked with the rising alarm about crime in the United States towards the end of the 1960s. The crime signal was a result of the structure of the president’s Commission on Regulation Enforcement as well as the Management of justice in the year 1966 that performed the initial nationwide victimization assessment. This assessment elicited that victimization had been speeding at a higher rate than the one which occurred in the law implementation data. Also, the majority of victims never reported and acted out of the doubt of the fairness system (Beloof, 2012). This fact held the interest of the scholars who started to inspect the effect of a crime on the victims and victim’s disappointment with the scheme.

Victim Compensation

The idea to offer monetary reimbursement to the victims was first put forward by an English punitive transformer Margery Fry in the 1950s. This compensation was first practiced in New Zealand in the year 1963 where Great Britain approved the same law afterwards. The ancient reimbursement programs were beneficial programs that issued help to the victims who were in need. This enforcement was mirrored in a remark made by Justice Goldberg that those who experienced the effect of criminal violence were also the victims of the society’s extensive inattentiveness towards social injustice and poverty. California commenced the earliest state victim reimbursement program in 1965 which was quickly followed by New York. By the end of 1979, 28 state reimbursement programs were put in place. In that duration, most individuals refused the welfare principle due to justice orientation where victims were viewed as warranting compensation whether they were in need or not.

The reimbursement programs also supported the engagement of victims in the system of criminal justice since the victims were supposed to report the crimes to the police and to assist the prosecution. The administrators of the initial programs were not obsessive representatives of victim matters. Afterwards, the compensation administrators frequently became expressed advocates of the society’s obligations to the victims.

New Legislations and changes in Laws

In the year 2011, a bill was passed that created an electronic notification system for the crime victim that was interested in the standing of an illegal case or convict. The legislative instituted a completion task force to build up this innovative system as well as reorganize related state resources. Also, the state organizations play the main role alongside victim advocates, who are chosen by the Attorney General in building up this vitally crucial and user-friendly system (Fernandez, 2012). The legislative at present may change broadly from one state to another, and these laws may vary accordingly. For instance, the National Symposium of Commissioners on the Uniform Nation Laws took the responsibility of sketching the uniform Act in the year 2010 in consultation with the ABA Center for the Rights of Individuals. The advocates assert that the uniform act is a crucial step in fighting against trafficking of humans since it locates an obvious substantive stipulation to be accepted by the jurisdictions all over the state. This Act can create a foundation of legislations across the state lines (Evans, 2012). The act will also move forward the national consciousness of the victims.

Additionally, victim laws generate a description of the victim to access their services in every jurisdiction as well as govern their services or reimbursement regime in the same jurisdiction. The victims include the affected persons, as well as their families, when the perpetrator has been recognized, prosecuted or apprehended (Fernandez, 2012). The particular services issued to victims change between authority that include the stipulation of the information, short-term counseling, referral to the community services, accompaniment, and assisting in completing the victim impact declarations. According to statistics, most victims fail to report assaults because of the fear to undergo the process of the court system. Therefore, the government of the United States has changed laws and improvements on how victims and their assaults are handled in court and also in the system of criminal justice.

Comparisons and contrasts between new legislation and changes in laws on victims

In both the new and the current laws, the majority of accused persons are lawfully represented. Moreover, the victim has a right to compensation. In the new legislation, one had to face the person accused in court but the laws have changed since it is not mandatory to face the accused individual in court in the current system. Evidence can be given in a confidential room separate from the courtroom, which is then viewed through television in the courtroom (Victims: Support and Assistance, 2007). Additionally, one can give evidence in the courtroom as long as they do not have to see the individual accused face to face; a partition has to be used. In the new legislation, media could publish any information without restrictions but the changes in law advocate that there should be restrictions on what needs to be published (Victims: Support and Assistance, 2007). The name of the accused or any information that identifies a person must be handled with confidentiality. In the new legislation, one could be asked improper questions that humiliated and insulted the accused. However, due to the changes in law, these improper questions are no longer allowed to be used by the lawyers who stand for the accused in the period of cross assessment. Moreover, previously, the victim compensation was being delayed but now they are compensated in time.

Suggestions to improve how the current system handles victims

From my point of view, the effect of crime is increasingly ravaging as the impact affects the victim as well as their families. This is the reason victims should have correct protection and support when they are in need of it. Support should be considered as a right and not as a favor. This fact implies that the victims should have the right to access a fair opportunity of recovery (Wright, 2009). Additionally, plans should be put in place to create and implement a victim’s law. For the victim’s law to make a genuine difference, there must be a transformation on how the offended are handled and treated. I also suggest that the needs of each crime victim be unique to themselves. The victims need also to be assisted with psychological support and physical issues like finances, accommodation, and employment. 

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Besides, the victims’ law needs to convey more for the offended rather than the present Code of exercise for the Victims of Crime. In return, the victims will have the right to come up with their personal statements as well as a recommendation to reading it aloud. I would also suggest for the victims to have an advocate to advise them on their rights and act on their behalf. Finally, I would want to have a knowhow on how the victims’ law will be implemented. For example, I need to be informed whether the victims will be entitled to a lawful aid as well as the compensations and penalties to be applied. The government should also be committed to introducing measures that boost the rights of the crime victims.

 The rights of victims and services have turned out to be a part of the ordinary glossary where the majority of present victims deserve respectful and concerned treatment. The Crime Victims’ Right Association has grown to a respected cohort in the community of social and criminal justice provisions. So far, the ideals of the association are yet to be fully realized. Therefore, continuously shared values and vision that enhance equivalent rights for the crime victims will guide this operation.

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