National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (NCVRW) 2018 is fast approaching, and so in honor of that, here are a few facts regarding Victim’s Rights history, both in Colorado and across the nation.
- In 1975, the first “Victim’ Rights Week” was organized by the Philadelphia District Attorney.
- The National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards is established in 1977 by the existing 22 state victim compensation programs to foster a nationwide network of compensation programs.
- Programs including the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA), the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), and Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. (POMC) were established in 1978.
- In 1981, President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first national “Crime Victims’ Week” in April.
- The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 brings “fair treatment standards” to victims and witnesses in the federal criminal justice system.
- In 1983, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is established by the U.S. Department of Justice within the Office of Justice Programs to implement recommendations from the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime. OVC establishes a national resource center, trains professionals, and develops model legislation to protect victims’ rights.
- The passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in 1984 established the Crime Victims Fund, made up of federal criminal fines, penalties, and bond forfeitures, to support state victim compensation and local victim assistance programs.
- Also in 1984, victim/witness notification system is established within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
- By the end of 1986, 35 states have established victim compensation programs.
- In 1988, victims’ rights constitutional amendments are introduced in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina, and Washington. Florida’s amendment is placed on the November ballot, where it passes with 90 percent of the vote. Michigan’s amendment passes with more than 80 percent of the vote.
- The Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 incorporates a Bill of Rights for federal crime victims and codifies services that should be available to victims of crime.
- Colorado legislators introduce a victims’ rights constitutional amendment on the first day of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The bill is unanimously passed by both Houses to be placed on the ballot in 1992.
- In 1992, five states—Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico—ratify victims’ rights constitutional amendments.
- In 1996, six additional states pass victims’ rights constitutional amendments—the largest number ever in a single year—bringing the total number of states with amendments to 20. States with new amendments include Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and Utah.
- To fully recognize the sovereignty of Indian Nations, OVC for the first time provides victim assistance grants directly to tribes in Indian Country, in 1997.
- Victimization rates reported in the National Crime Victimization Survey in 2000 are the lowest recorded since the survey’s creation in 1973.
- By the end of 2002, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam have established crime victim compensation programs.
- Congress passes and President Bush signs the Justice for All Act of 2004, which provides mechanisms at the federal level to enforce the rights of crime victims, giving victims and prosecutors legal standing to assert victims’ rights, authorizing the filing of writs of mandamus to assert a victim’s right, and requiring the U.S. Attorney General to establish a victims’ rights compliance program within the Department of Justice.
- In 2010, President Obama signs the Tribal Law and Order Act, designed to increase Tribal law enforcement agencies’ power to combat crime on reservations and to increase the accountability of federal agencies responsible for public safety in Indian Country. The Act requires federal prosecutors to keep data on criminal cases in Indian Country that they decline to prosecute, and to support prosecutions in Tribal court by sharing evidence.
If you have any questions regarding the Colorado Victims’ Rights Act (VRA), or if you are a victim of violent crime and are unsure of your rights, don’t hesitate to contact the Arkansas Valley Resource Center for info and support!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 hour hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656
AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.