Victims and Citizens Against Crime
"Standing Up For The Rights Of The Victim"
"We are fed up with crime-and we're doing something about it."
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VICTIMS NEED EVERYONE'S HELP
This year, almost six million Americans will become victims of violent crime. When it happens, they are in for a number of surprises.
People think the victim's nightmare ends when the attack is over. Not so. The nightmare is only beginning. For some, the shock and pain of what they now face at the hands of our criminal justice system can be as painful as the shock of being mugged or raped, or having a loved one murdered.
Victims feel disenfranchised. Isolated. Even treated like criminals.
They may suffer untold emotional grief, financial hardship and public humiliation, only to watch the offender become the center of attention in a legal system that goes to great lengths to protect the rights of the criminal. However, it is time to balance the scales and make the system more sensitive to the rights and needs of the victim.
Victims do not choose to be victims. IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE...EVEN YOU. So, if you think the way victims are treated is a crime, there is something you can do.
HELP VICTIMS AND CITIZENS AGAINST CRIME, INC.
The fight for victims' rights is everyone's fight. A contribution of your time or your money can help keep us fighting to protect victims. Fighting to give them a voice in our system. Fighting to bring them the care and compensation they deserve.
Victims' rights. Don't wait until you become a victim to get involved. We need your help.
QUOTES OF VICTIMS
Why stronger victims' rights laws are needed
"All I want is to be treated as good as a criminal in the criminal justice system."
"I was the victim, not the State of Louisiana! Why didn't anyone consult me?"
"When I became a victim, I believed in justice but awoke to the reality of crime, rights of criminals and injustice for victims."
"To be a victim is an unforgettable nightmare but to become a victim at the hands of the criminal justice system is an unforgivable travesty."
"Somewhere along the way, the criminal justice system began to serve lawyers, judges and defendants. Victims are treated with institutionalized disinterest. The neglect of crime victims is a national disgrace."
"L. H. Harrington, President's Task Force on Victims of Crime.
"How can justice be obtained by hearing "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" when the victims or surviving victims' families are not heard?"
"Now is the time to restore balance to the criminal justice system."
"To set aside time to hear the voices of the victim is an act of simple, human decency."
"Our forefathers would be amazed to learn that in these days, criminal defendants have not only the rights outlined in the constitution, but a myriad of other procedural protections which have tipped the scales of justice drastically out of balance."
"Since the victim was routinely present and heard during criminal trials in that day, the Constitutional authors likely saw no need to include rights for victims."
PROBLEMS OF SURVIVORS
1) Seeming Indifference of the community, especially the police, to the plight of survivors.
2) Isolation, helplessness in a world that is seen as hostile and uncaring, and that frequently blames the victim.
3) Feelings of guilt for not having protected the victim.
4) Growing public sympathy for perpetrators of crimes of passion (Jean Harris, etc.).
5) Disparities in the judicial system (frequently, punishments for property crimes are as great as, or greater than, for the crime of taking a human life).
6) Sensational and inaccurate media coverage.
7) Financial burden of hiring private investigators, etc. when they feel that the law enforcement officers are not doing an adequate job or when there are too many unanswered questions.
8) Anger over a plea bargain arrangement.
9) Outrage about the leniency of the murderer's sentence.
10) Frustration at not being allowed inside the courtroom at the time of the trial.
11) The memory of a mutilated body at the morgue.
12) Lack of information as to what is going on.
13) Unanswered questions - about the crime, the criminal justice system (why is the killer out on bail, walking the streets, after he has confessed to the crime; why was the confession thrown out; why do they keep postponing the trial and not letting us know, etc.).
14) Financial burden of medical and funeral expenses and perhaps for professional counseling for surviving family members.
15) The feeling that the murderer, if he's found, gets all the help; that as parents of a murdered child, you do not have any rights.
16) The seemingly endless grief.
17) Loss of ability to function on the job, as well as at home or in school.
18) The strain this puts on marriages and family relationships frequently results in divorce.
19) Getting back the personal effects of a murder victim, even those which are not essential to a trial, or after the trial is over.
20) The effect on the other children in the family, especially the bitterness and loss of faith in the American criminal justice system.
COPYRIGHT - Parents of Murdered Children, 1739 Bella Vista, Cincinnati, Ohio 45237
THE WAY WE TREAT VICTIMS IS A CRIME
Life is not like television. On television, when there is a murder, the offender is arraigned and brought to trial within 15 minutes. Within an hour, the killer has been tried, convicted and sent to prison for the rest of his life. On television, the system fights as a unit to win justice for the victim.
But... life is not like that!!
In real life, under the terms of the American system of justice, the victim of violent crime is expected to disappear. The victim's possessions are taken for use, some day to be used as evidence. The victims may sit for weeks on a bench outside the courtroom, ordered to appear as a witness, but often not given the right to attend the trial. The victim is not always consulted about deals struck with the offender, not notified of sentencing, parole or release. Victims are often ruined emotionally and financially and then told that the trial is none of their business.
The victim of violent crime thinks the attack was a crime against his or her person. But... our system says that a crime against the individual is a crime against the state.
So, while criminals have a whole raft of constitutional rights, victims are left out in the cold. In many jurisdictions, victims have been forgotten by the system of justice.
AND THAT IS A CRIME.
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