Training and education helps crime victims assert their rights


All 50 states have some form of a crime victims' bill of rights, and more than half - including Ohio - have amended their constitutions to include rights for crime victims. But that doesn't mean crime victims are automatically afforded those protections. That, takes education.

"When the first statutory rights were adopted for crime victims, everyone sort of thought: 'okay, this is it, we've created victims' rights laws, so that will happen.' But, it doesn't."

Catherine Harper Lee, executive director of the Ohio Crime Victims Justice Center gets that victims of crime are often overwhelmed by the process of investigation and prosecution, and may not know their rights under the state crime victims rights statutes. And she says many people don't realize that prosecutors work on behalf of the state, rather than the individual and that it falls to the victim to speak up for themselves. To be aware of investigative requests for sensitive information, to insist on notification of all court proceedings and plea discussions, and take advantage of opportunities to address the court before and after sentencing.


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