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A Guide to the Role of Crime Victims in Mental Health Courts

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2008
60 pages
This guide, intended primarily for stakeholders involved in either planning or operating mental health courts, highlights the potential role of crime victims in mental health courts, as it addresses the challenges court teams face in attempting to involve victims of crimes committed by individuals with mental illnesses.
In this guide, a mental health court is defined as a "specialized court docket for certain defendants with mental illnesses that substitutes a problem solving model for traditional court processing." This guide focuses on two key issues regarding the needs of crime victims in mental health courts. First, it considers why it is important to address the role of crime victims in mental health courts. Second, it provides direction for how victims’ rights can be incorporated into mental health courts. Regarding the first issue, the guide explains how involving victims in the proceedings of mental health courts can improve public confidence in the court, support better responses to interfamilial/caregiver crime, and enhance services to mental health court participants who have been victimized. Regarding the second issue, the guide focuses victims’ participation in mental health courts in fulfillment of the following rights to attend, to be heard, to be informed about case proceedings, to receive reasonable protection, and to full and timely restitution. 37 notes

Date Published: June 1, 2008