Victims’ Bill of Rights Essay

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Victims’  assistance  programs  are  meant  to respond to the people harmed in some way by crime, usually  helping  those  who  are directly affected by criminal activities. These programs are variable across states, counties, and other jurisdictions and address the particular concepts of “assistance” and “victim” defined by the jurisdiction. For example, in Los Angeles County victim service representatives work in courthouses and police stations throughout the county; they provide an array of services, which range from mandatory services, such as crisis intervention and emergency assistance, to optional services, which include child care assistance and witness protection assistance. These two different types of services include crisis intervention. In Florida, by contrast, the state Attorney General’s Division of Victim Services not only serves as an advocate for victims’ rights in the judicial process, but also administers a compensation program to ensure financial assistance for innocent victims of crime.

The common link between all victims’ assistance programs is ensuring the safety of the victims and lessening the impact of the criminal acts to which they have been targets. The general goal of these programs is to provide an assortment of services to victims of crimes; this may include monetary and financial aid, education and advocacy throughout the criminal justice system, and support systems such as individual and family counseling.

Victims’ assistance programs can be broadly divided into two basic types: those that attempt to combine a bundle of services and those that have a more focused approach to a particular aspect of the problem. In addition to governmental victim assistance programs, there are numerous nationwide nongovernmental organizations that focus on victims’ assistance. These include the National Crime Victim Law Institute; the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys; the National Organization for Victim Assistance; the National Center for Victims of Crime; the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime; and the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI)  is a national nonprofit legal education and advocacy organization based at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Its mission is to actively promote balance and fairness in the justice system through legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. NCVLI works to ensure that victims of crime are informed of their rights and can find resources to enforce their rights; however, it does not provide legal advice to victims, conduct  research on individual  victim’s cases, or serve as victims’ attorney. NCVLI believes that if the criminal justice system fails to address victims’ rights, the system fails to provide justice to the feeblest members of the community. There are numerous ways for the community to get involved in NCVLI’s activities, such as donating money to the organization, joining the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys, volunteering, and being a part  of its Victims’ Rights Community. NCVLI provides a forum for people committed  to and interested  in victims’ rights to educate themselves, dedicate time to victims’ rights, and connect with other practitioners. This gives the public the ability to learn different ways to get involved in the community.

The National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys (NAVRA) is a membership alliance of attorneys and advocates committed to the nationwide protection,  enforcement, and  advancement of crime victims’ rights. NAVRA is one of the largest projects of the National Crime Victim Law Institute. NAVRA aims to increase the availability of expert services for crime victims. Membership is open to attorneys, nonattorney victim advocates, crime victims, law students, and individuals who are interested in legal developments. NAVRA provides additional resources to members of the organization, including  networking opportunities, a chance to participate in pro bono representation, and access to training services. There are numerous ways to support NAVRA such as volunteering and making tax-deductible donations; these donations can also be made through the National Crime Victim Law Institute. Volunteers work with pro bono attorneys and victims in need of representation.

The National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is one of the oldest national victims’ assistance programs in the United States and its mission is to champion dignity and compassion for those harmed by crime and crisis. It is dedicated to promoting rights and services for victims of crime. NOVA provides resources to learn more about the different ways to help those who have been victims of crimes, including advocacy, monetary and financial assistance, and crime victim specialization, which has emerged to address particular types of needs that range from child abuse  and  cyberbullying  to identity  theft  and sexual violence. In addition to victims of crime, NOVA deals with victims of crisis who have had traumatic experiences, giving them the option of requesting a crisis team.

The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) is a nonprofit organization that advocates  for  victims’  rights,  trains  professionals who work with victims, and serves as a trusted source of information on victims’ issues. NCVC is an advocacy organization committed to crime victims and their families; unlike other organizations, it addresses all types of crimes. NCVC’s mission is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. NCVC has a number of resources available to assist victims of crime such as the Connect Directory; this directory provides a fast and efficient way for victims to locate service providers specializing in specific areas of victimization in a variety of jurisdictions throughout the country.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is committed to enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to providing leadership to change attitudes, policies, and practices in order to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. OVC was established  in 1988  through an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA). VOCA created a federal victims’ account funded by fines assessed in federal criminal convictions, and it established provisions to assist state programs that compensated victims of crime. VOCA established the Crime Victim’s Fund, which is supported by all fines that are collected from persons who have been convicted of offenses against the United States. OVC’s mission is to enhance the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims by providing leadership and funding on behalf of crime victims.

The National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA) is a network of attorneys and allied professionals dedicated to facilitating civil actions brought by crime victims. The NCVBA provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local areas, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime. The NCVA believes that crime victims deserve compensation for the harms they have endured and that third parties should be held responsible through the civil justice system. NCVBA is an affiliate and program of the National Center for Victims of Crime.


  1. Legal Information Institute. “Crime Victims’ Rights.” (Accessed May 2013).
  2. Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. “Fraud and Corruption.” (Accessed May 2013).
  3. Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. “Victim-Witness Assistance Program.” (Accessed May 2013).
  4. National Center for Victims of Crime. “About Us.” (Accessed May 2013).
  5. National Crime Victim Bar Association. “About Us.” national-crime-victim-bar-association/about-us (Accessed May 2013).
  6. National Organization for Victims Assistance. “Victims of Crisis.” (Accessed May 2013).
  7. S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime. “About OVC.” .html (Accessed May 2013).
  8. S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime. “The History of the Crime Victims’ Movement in the United States” (April 10, 2005). (Accessed May 2013).
  9. Victim Assistance Program. http://www.victim (Accessed May 2013).

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