Victim/Witness Assistance in Rural Communities
In the past 30 years, there has been a growing awareness among criminal justice practitioners and prosecutors, in particular, of crime victims' needs. Efforts to aid crime victims have resulted in the legislation of victims' rights both locally and nationally. All 50 states have enacted legislation to address victims' rights, and 32 states also have enacted constitutional amendments that address the rights of victims and witnesses. These legislative changes outline the specific rights that the criminal justice system must afford victims and witnesses. Although these specific rights vary by state, they are based on the following principles:
- The right to protection from intimidation and harm.
- The right to be informed concerning the criminal justice process.
- The right to reparations or restitution.
- The right to preservation of property and employment.
- The right to due process in criminal court proceedings.
- The right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
- The right to counsel.2