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Crime Victims’ Rights

About thirty years ago a movement was born – the victims’ rights movement. It has put the effects of crime on victims during the legal process in the forefront. As a result, over thirty states have constitutional amendments and/or legislation affording crime victims rights. As recently as 2004, federal legislation, the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, was enacted affording crime victims rights.

So what are these rights? Many jurisdictions, including Oregon, provide crime victims rights similar to the following:

1) the right to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect;

2) the right to be reasonably protected from the accused;

3) the right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any criminal proceeding involving the crime;

4) with limitations, the right not to be excluded from any court proceeding;

5) the right to be heard at any public proceeding involving release, plea, sentencing, or parole;

6) the right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case;

7) the right to full and timely restitution as provided by law;

8) the right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay;