Introduction to Victims Advocacy
Professor Ronald Tarpey
In my opinion, I do not think the victims movement has reached its full potential. I feel this way because in any government, law, or movement there is always room for improvements. With society changing at an alarming rate, and crime getting more violent , there is room for improvement. As crime worsens, more laws are created, which means changes in the criminal justice system has to be made. Crime just doesn't affect the victim, everyone is affected, including society and the offender. One great victim advocacy group we hear a lot about is MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This group was formed in 1980, by Candy Lightner. Ms. Lightner formed this group because her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. More specialized groups have been formed in the last few years. Groups such as The National Coalition Against Sexual Assualt and Parents of Murdered Children have been helpful to the victims. These programs are a great asset to society, but you need money to find them. In my state, Georgia, tax payers spend 30 billion dollars a year on inmates. Why not just kill all the rapist and child molesters and use the excess money to fund victim groups? One goal the movement should strive for is to guarantee the victim the right to participate in the criminal proceedings of the offender. This would give the victim the opportunity to consult with the prosecuting attorney as to whether the victim should be allowed to plea bargain. Another goal would be financial benefits and services for the victim. Not only would this allow for restitution but it could also allow for services for domestic violence victims. The last goal, but certainly not the least important, would be swifter and harsher punishments for the offender. Pretrial release should not be an option. Most victims do have a direct voice during the sentencing phase of the trial, but the most important outcome to the victim, in my opinion is an increase of severity in the offenders sentence.