The Victim Experience
Several federal laws protect victims of identity theft. These laws have to do with documenting the theft; dealing with credit reporting companies; dealing with creditors, debt collectors, and merchants; and limiting a victim’s financial losses caused by the theft of his or her identity. The FTC provides a brief summary of the rights of identity theft victims, with links to Web sites that provide more information.
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act
In addition, victims of crime have certain rights in court, guaranteed by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004 or CVRA. CVRA is a key component of the Justice for All Act (H.R. 5107, Public Law 108-405), enacted on October 30, 2004.
CVRA (18 U.S.C. Section 3771) establishes the rights of crime victims in federal criminal proceedings and provides mechanisms for enforcing these rights. It is the result of years of hard work by many individuals and is an important first step toward achieving justice for victims of crime. Section 3771 (a) of CVRA amends the federal criminal code to grant crime victims specified rights, including the following:
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding or any parole proceeding involving the crime, or of any release or escape of the accused.
- The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.
Victims’ Rights in State Court
Because each state has different laws on identity theft, it can be challenging for victims and victim service providers to deal with police and creditors in different states and difficult to find a specific state’s law on identity theft.