FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                OVC

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2002                                                                                                            202/307-0703

 

NEW JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BULLETINS ADDRESS CRITICAL LEGAL ISSUES FOR CRIME VICTIMS

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four new bulletins from the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provide crime victims with clear and concise information about key legal issues.  Strengthening Antistalking Statutes, Reporting School Violence, The Crime Victim’s Right to Be Present and Enforcement of Protective Orders are the first in an ongoing series of bulletins designed to educate victims about their rights and roles in the criminal justice system. 

“The nature and scope of victims rights can vary from state to state, and it can be difficult for victims to determine what those rights mean for them,” said OVC Director John W. Gillis.  “I believe these bulletins will help victims, victim advocates and victim service providers make sense of the criminal justice process.”

Strengthening Antistalking Statutes describes the different types of behavior that can be defined as stalking and some of the challenges to implementing effective antistalking laws.  The bulletin also covers some relatively new issues such as cyberstalking.

Reporting School Violence outlines some of the different laws that govern how schools and law enforcement can collect and share school violence data.  It also identifies some recent  improvements in reporting school violence, such as hotlines that allow students to call in threats anonymously. 

The Crime Victim’s Right to Be Present describes states’ efforts to balance the crime victims’ rights in the courtroom with the rights of the accused.  Defense counsel often tries to prevent victims and families from appearing in court by listing them as potential witnesses, but many states have passed laws to stop or limit this practice.  The bulletin also covers related issues such as the rights of crime victims to have a support person with them at a trial. 

Enforcement of Protective Orders highlights some of the tools states have used to ensure that protective orders are not violated, such as stronger criminal sanctions for offenders.  The bulletin also discusses full faith and credit provisions and the increased use of statewide protective order registries.

OVC developed these bulletins through a grant to the National Center for Victims of Crime, and will periodically produce additional bulletins in this series.

Copies of Strengthening Antistalking Statutes, Reporting School Violence, The Crime Victim’s Right to Be Present and Enforcement of Protective Orders, as well as information about other OVC publications, programs and conferences, are available through the OVC Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc and from the OVC Resource Center at 1-800/627-6872.

Information about other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus and program offices is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.  Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.            

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