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Victims' Rights - Nature Of Victims' Rights Movement

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The victims' rights movement includes three major elements. The first is an interest in guaranteeing victim participation in criminal proceedings. This dimension includes notice of proceedings and the right to be present and to be heard at them. This element also champions opportunities for victims to consult with prosecutors regarding whether to charge or to plea bargain with defendants. This set of interests may be called the participatory rights dimension of the movement. A second broad goal of the movement is to secure financial benefits and services for crime victims. This effort has led to restitution orders from perpetrators, which are required in many jurisdictions, and victim compensation programs funded from governmental resources. This focus also seeks to secure other services, such as shelters and support services for domestic violence victims, for certain identifiable groups of victims. A third element consists of efforts to secure more certain and harsher punishment for perpetrators, including restricting pretrial release, free admission of evidence against the accused, and tougher sentencing practices. In these efforts, victims frequently become the allies of prosecutorial and political forces that support a law-and-order agenda.

Sometimes these three aspects overlap as they do with evidence about the crime's impact on the victim or victim's family. Such victim impact evidence permits victims to have a direct voice in the sentencing process, often through in-person statements at sentencing that show the degree of injury suffered, and may aid the sentencer in determining the proper scope of restitution. The general, though not inevitable, outcome of victim impact statements is an increase in sentence severity.

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over 7 years ago

Victims' Rights - Nature Of Victims' Rights Movement