Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Crime and Criminal Law » Crime Victims - Victim Rights, Women Victims, The Right To Sue And Bear Witness, Victim Compensation Laws

Crime Victims - The Right To Sue And Bear Witness

criminal justice rape process

The minor role of the victim in criminal justice remained largely unchanged through the 1960s. The victim only held the right to report crimes, serve as a witness, and sue in civil court for damages. Of course, first the criminal had to be caught. If the offender was never apprehended, the victim had A rape victim being interviewed. In 1975 the first rape crisis center opened in Berkeley, California, to help victims through the legal process. (© Richard T. Nowitz/Corbis)
no options. As in earlier times when victims had to pay to pursue a civil lawsuit, the twist was that even if the victim won the court case, if the offender had no money there was nothing to collect. This was often the case, especially involving street criminals.

Through a series of studies in the late 1960s, the federal government discovered many victims did not report crimes and others refused to cooperate with police and prosecutors. Victims experienced poor treatment by authorities, long waits for trials, and no transportation or childcare while participating in the criminal justice process. This insensitivity on the part of the criminal justice authorities made victims feel "victimized" all over again. In response to the studies, law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice authorities began promoting victim assistance programs to address the needs of victims. With more victim cooperation came higher conviction rates.

The extreme stress faced by rape victims, who often did not report the crime because of the ordeal of going through the criminal justice system, was finally recognized. In 1975 the first rape crisis center opened in Berkeley, California, to help victims through the legal process.



Crime Victims - Victim Compensation Laws [next] [back] Crime Victims - Women Victims

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or