Victim Rights in our current criminal and juvenile justice systems primarily represents opportunities for victims to be notified of specific actions and or participate in the process through attendance at hearings or through comments and statements submitted to the Court or the District Attorney. How we provide notification is important. That notification should be crafted in a manner that addresses the the potential trauma that the notification may cause and provides the most clear and concise information on the operations of the system at that point. All notification must include contact information on where victims can find additional information and emotional support.
Assisting victims in participating in the process through attendance at hearings or through input should be centered on the victims needs. It is easy for us to provide notice from the prosecutors office or other system agencies which details what that agency needs from the victim but what is most important is to include a recognition of the potential eperience of victims in the process. There is a large body of research and experience in providing notifications to victims of crime. We must be sure that we utilize this knowledge base and include that knowledge in designing current and future notifications.
Victim rights are limited and providing the truth about the extent or limit of their rights is the framework that should form which we design notification systems. Honesty about the process and recognition of the potential experiences of victims should form the foundation for quality notification programs.
Standard programing or specialized programing on justice system issues related to vcitims in the process are available Mary Achilles has a long and distinquished career at the local state and national level of adovcacy, implementation and legislative authorship on victim rights in the criminal and juvenil justice system. She assisted in writing the current crime victims bill of rights in Pennsylvania for both criminal and juvenile justice systems. She has been a primary advisor on vcitims rights with a strong emphasis on the post sentencing process to the Pennsylvania Legislature. The following is a list of topics available for training. This list in basic and individualized trainings can be developed.
Victim Rights in the Criminal Justice System
Victim Rights in the Juvenile Jusitice System
Victim Impact Statements - history, design and implementaion
Victim Offender Mediation/Dialogue
Victim Notification: Our Highest Standard of Service
Probation Parole and Corrections based Victim Needs and Services