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Public Record Resources

With Justice for Some: Protecting Victim's Rights in Criminal Trials
With Justice for Some:
Protecting Victim's Rights
in Criminal Trials

Victims in the War on Crime: The Use and Abuse of Victims' Rights
Victims in the War on
Crime: The Use and Abuse
of Victims' Rights

Laws that Protect and Aid Victims

The laws that are applicable to any victim's situation can be multi-layered and confusing. The first step to figuring out which laws apply is to determine jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is a court's ability or authority to hear a case or enforce laws. Jurisdiction usually applies in relation to WHERE the crime occurred. For example, if you live in New York, but travel to Virginia, and are the victim of a crime IN Virginia, then it is the laws of Virginia that have been broken, and Virginia has jurisdiction - the authority to pursue enforcement of the law (ie. trial and any sentencing). But there are exceptions to this. First, some crimes don't have a specific location where they occurred (for example many cyber crimes), or, they occurred across state lines, so both state AND federal (crimes across state lines) law may apply.

The other type of jurisdiction has to do with the TYPE of case, regardless of where it occurred. For example, federal laws related to trafficking in child pornography apply no matter where the crime occurred, and even when there is ALSO state law that addresses such cases, the feds have much more experience (and manpower) dedicated to such crimes and thus they are more often than not pursued at the federal level. Additionally, federal level jurisdiction can come into play under circumstances where federal FUNDING is involved. An example here would be in the area of childcare programs. Federal law says that background checks must be performed on employees of programs that receive certain federal funding under a number of different programs. If an employee of such programs commits a crime against a child, and the required background check was not performed as specified, then the case becomes a layered one of state charges AND federal charges.

With that said, because so many state laws are either based on, copied from, influenced by, or run concurrent with federal law, the major federal statutes applicable to victim rights are listed below. Be sure to check your state's page for information on rights and protections provided under state law.


ARTICLE VI. RESTITUTION, A. Restitution In General (1) Restitution under the Victims' Rights & Restitution Act (VRRA) of 1990

Title 18 US Code // Crimes and Criminal Procedure // Chapter 223 // Witnesses and Evidence

      3509 Child victims' and child witnesses' rights
      3510 Rights of victims to attend and observe trial
      3525 Victims Compensation Fund
      3663 Order of restitution
      3663A Mandatory restitution to victims of certain crimes
      3664 Procedure for issuance and enforcement of order of restitution

            United States Sentencing Guidelines
            3A1.1 -- Hate Crime Motivation or Vulnerable Victim
            5E1.1 -- Restitution
            5E1.3 -- Special Assessments

Title 22 US Code // Foreign Relations and Intercourse // Chapter 38 // Department of State

      2715a Provision of information on certain violent crimes abroad to victims and victims' families
      5510 United States Government compensation for victims of terrorism

Title 37 US Code // Pay and Allowances of the Uniformed Services // Chapter 19 // Administration

      1013 Payment of compensation for victims of terrorism

Title 42 US Code // Public Health & Welfare

      Chapter 35, Sub XI, Part A, Sec. 30581 Prevention of Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation
      Chapter 67 Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment and Adoption Reform
      Chapter 112 Victim Compensation and Assistance
            10601 Crime Victims Fund
            10602 Crime Victim Compensation
            10603 Crime Victim Assistance
            10603b Compensation to Victims of Terrorism/Mass Violence
            10605 Office for Victims of Crime
            10606 Victims' Rights
            10607 Services to Victims
            10608 Closed Circuit TV Court Proceedings for Victims of Crime
      Chapter 132 Victims of Child Abuse
            Sub Chapt I Improving Investigation & Prosecution of Child Abuse
            Sub Chapt II Court-Appointed Special Advocates
            Sub Chapt III Child Abuse Training for Judicial Personnel and Practitoners
            Sub Chapt IV Reporting Requirements
            Sub Chapt V Child Care Worker Employee Background Checks
            Sub Chapt VI Treatment for Juvenile Offenders who are Victims of Child Abuse
      Chapter 136 Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement
            Sub Chapter III Violence Against Women
                  13942 Confidentiality of Communications Between Victims and Counselors
                  13951 Confidentiality of Abused Person's Address
                  13981 Civil Rights for Women
                  14011 Payment of Cost of Testing for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
                  14013 Report on Battered Women's Syndrome
                  14014 Confidentiality of Addresses for Victims of Domestic Violence
                  14015 Report on Recordkeeping Relating to Domestic Violence
                  14016 Enforcement of Statutory Rape Laws
            Sub Chapter VI Crimes Against Children
                  14071 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Program

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Last Updated: May 5, 2011