Rights of Crime Victims
Victims of federal crimes have specific rights under federal law. Federal codes conferring rights upon victims reflect the principle that victims should play a central role in the criminal justice system. Among the rights of federal crime victims are the right to
- Receive information about the prosecution of each individual charged with the crime, including his or her conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release.
- Be notified of court proceedings [18 U.S.C. § 3771 (a) (2)].
- Be heard in the criminal justice system, which includes submitting victim impact statements and speaking at sentencing hearings [H.R. 5107, Public Law 108-405].
- Confer with the attorney for the Government [18 U.S.C. § 3771 (a) (5)].
- Receive restitution [18 U.S.C. § 3771 (a) (6), 18 U.S.C. § 3663 A].
Federal officers engaged in the detection, investigation, and prosecution of crime are required to make their best efforts to see that victims are afforded their rights as codified in 18 U.S.C. § 3771 (a).9 The law enforcement agency handling the investigation or prosecution of federal crimes is also charged with the responsibility of informing victims about medical, social, and counseling services available to them and of assisting them in contacting persons who are responsible for providing such services.