Crime Victims’ Rights
This OVC-funded database provides access to victims’ rights statutes, tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and case summaries of related court decisions.
Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Enacted in October 2004, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (part of the Justice for All Act) authorizes program efforts to—
- Help victims assert and encourage enforcement of victims’ rights.
- Promote compliance with victims’ rights laws.
- Fund grant programs and other activities to implement provisions.
- Provides an enforcement mechanism for rights delineated in the Act.
This Act also gives victims the following rights in federal criminal cases (18 U.S.C. section 3771):
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding or any parole proceeding involving the crime, or of any release or escape of the accused.
- The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.
U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel Opinion on the Crime Victims’ Rights Act
The Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department issued an opinion concerning the availability of crime victims’ rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004.
Case Law. Summaries of case law under the CVRA and state victims’ rights laws can be found in the VictimLaw database (see above) or on the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) website under Cases of Interest.
Legal Information Institute: Law by Source - Federal Law Collection
Offers access to U.S. Federal legal documents (the U.S. Code, Supreme Court decisions, searchable index of U.S. Court of Appeals decisions, and the Code of Federal Regulations).
Congress.gov: Legislative Information on the Internet
Houses current U.S. Federal legislative information, such as Bills, laws, Congressional Record, and reports.
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
It's been more than 30 years since the signing of the VOCA, developed in conjunction with the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime and the work of victim advocates. This federal law, passed by Congress in 1984 and amended in 1988, called for the establishment of the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and created the Crime Victims Fund (the Fund), which provides funds to states for victim assistance and compensation programs that offer support and services to those affected by violent crimes.