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June 8, 2013

DOJ unveils new plans and programming for helping crime victims

V21Report_thumbnailAs reported in this press release, the US Department of Justice yesterday "unveiled a plan calling for sweeping changes to advance crime victims’ rights and services in the 21st century."  Here is more from the press release about this interesting and positive development:

Developed by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report [available via this webpage], is the first collective examination in 15 years of current U.S. practices, funding and outreach in the crime victims’ field.

“Today’s announcement marks the latest step forward in the Department’s ongoing work to protect and empower those who have been victimized,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Through Vision 21, we’ve gained an unprecedented understanding of the current state of victim services from coast to coast. And we've developed groundbreaking strategies for responding to urgent needs, combating violence and abuse, and providing critical support to crime victims.”

Vision 21 documents the need to better understand who is affected by crime, how they are affected, how they seek help, who reports victimization and the reasons why some victims do not.  The report calls for continuous, rather than episodic, strategic planning in the victim assistance field and for statutory, policy and programmatic flexibility to address enduring and emerging crime victim issues.  It also calls for the development of evidence-based knowledge founded on data collection and analysis of victimization and emerging victimization trends, services, behaviors and enforcement efforts.

The full 60-page "Final Report" (available here) discusses so many issues relating to crime victims, it is hard to effectively summarize its coverage.  Because I have long been concerned about crime victims having ready access to legal counsel to effectively protect and pursue their statutory rights under the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, I found this passage from the report concerning these matters to be especially worth highlighting:

Recognizing that enforcement of crime victims’ rights was inconsistent, CVRA’s bipartisan sponsors understood that rights enforcement would require access to legal services and professional legal representation at tribal, state, and federal levels.  CVRA authorized funding for the “support of organizations that provide legal counsel and support services for victims in criminal cases for the enforcement of crime victims’ rights.”

The 2004 legislation built on a demonstration project launched in 2002 by OVC, which developed and evaluated a network of legal clinics that might serve as models for the provision of pro bono legal representation of victims in criminal court.  Funding for the OVC demonstration project ended in 2009.  Most of the 12 legal clinics that were established in a handful of states under CVRA and the OVC demonstration project have since significantly decreased operations or closed.  The full promise of CVRA was not realized, although the many legal issues facing crime victims remain.  Moreover, a system of effective legal services that meets the needs of all crime victims must acknowledge and contend with a sobering reality: the majority of crime victims in the United States never contact law enforcement or step across the threshold of a courtroom.

June 8, 2013 at 09:04 AM | Permalink

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Comments

USDOJ could start by pushing the federal lethal injection litigation that is being slow-walked.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 8, 2013 9:08:53 PM

There it is the real purpose of this victim rights movement. I was shunned by Judge Paul Cassell when I made the same point.

"Recognizing that enforcement of crime victims’ rights was inconsistent, CVRA’s bipartisan sponsors understood that rights enforcement would require access to legal services and professional legal representation at tribal, state, and federal levels. CVRA authorized funding for the “support of organizations that provide legal counsel and support services for victims in criminal cases for the enforcement of crime victims’ rights.”

The cult hierarchy of the Supreme Court cleared the way by finding that victim boohooing is not testimony, but an attestation. This is a distinction without a difference. No matter what the Supreme court says, it is testimony without cross examination, prejudicial, self-evident and unnecessary. Permissible in a death penalty trial(reversing two other decisions, that had nothing wrong).

Payne v. Tennessee 501 U.S. 808 (1991).

At:

http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/501/808/case.html

It's only benefit is to generate massive public employment.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 9, 2013 6:50:38 AM

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