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Victim Rights

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  • April 2011
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Victim’s Right Amendment
National victim surveys indicate that almost every American age 12 and over will one day become the victim of a common law crime, such as larceny or burglary. (Resnick) Survey shows that more of the 75 percent of the general public has been victimized by crime at least once in their lifetime; as many as 25% of the victims develop posttraumatic stress syndrome, and their symptoms last for more than a decade after the crime occurred. (Kilpatrick) According to the Department of Justice, in the year 2000 there were almost 12 million serious crimes committed in the United States. In a given day, on any street corner in America, someone's mother, someone's father, someone's son, someone's daughter, or someone's grandparents can become the next victim of a rapist, murderer, or robber. The victim's right movement began in response to the spread of two concerns. The first was the perception that the legal system was more concerned with the protection of the constitutional rights of criminal offenders and alleged offenders then there were with the victims of their offenses. The second concern, which came from the media, that the number of released or paroled offenders were returning to society and attacking the original victims or the victims' family members in retaliation for reporting the original crime. (en.wikipedia.org) A presidential Task Force on Victim of a Crime was convened by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. This group saw a need for a balance between recognizing the victims' rights and protecting the defendant’s right to due process. The task force concluded that the way to balance the victim's right and the defendant's rights would be to amend the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of the Victims' Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution would be to ensure complete protection to victims of violent crimes. Crime victim advocates first decided to get full protection under the state constitution's before...