Rights of crime victims
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The judicial process is based on ensuring that the rights of the criminals are enforced at every step from arrest through conviction not the rights of crime victims, term papers report. In rights of crime victims research papers, evidence shows that those accused of a crime are guaranteed due process, competent representation, and a jury trial before their peers. While the push to ensure the rights of the accused is centuries old in many ways, ensuring the rights of their victims is a relatively new concept. Currently, the rights of individuals victimized by crime vary from state to state with the exception of those few rights guaranteed by federal law. A majority of news reports focus on the crime, the perpetrator of the crime, the damage caused, and in the initial reports, the victims of the crime. After these initial reports the new stories focus on the suspect's journey through the legal system and the verdict reached in the case. Although these events are important, at some point in the coverage of the story, the victim seems to get lost in the shuffle. This invisibility of the victim led to the formation of advocacy groups aimed at ensuring victims' rights.
The last decades of the twentieth century were characterized by major outcries from crime victim's rights groups. Demands from these groups included the following:
- Compassionate treatment of victims
- More focus on victim needs
- Additional methods to ensure that victims' were compensated for losses suffered
In 1999 alone, more than 29 million people fell victim to crime in the United States. This number led President Bush to take a proactive stance on new victims' rights legislation. Currently, laws and policies focusing on victim rights are meant to ensure that it is the criminals who pay the high cost of crime, not the ones they victimize. To guarantee that society's focus remains on the suffering of victims and their need for services, the President proclaimed April 22 through April 28 as National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
New laws pertaining to victims' rights have been enacted on both state and federal levels. Since the early 1980s, victims' rights legislation has made important gains in 32 states. The remaining states have acknowledged the importance of such legislation, although they have lagged behind in ensuring that individuals victimized received needed help.