Crime Victims’ Rights
Victim Rights’ Compliance
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act requires that within 1 year from the date of the Act’s enactment, the Attorney General designate an administrative authority within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to receive and investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of crime victims’ rights by DOJ employees. In response, the DOJ established the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman. If a crime victim believes that a DOJ employee violated or failed to provide him/her with one or more of his/her rights, he/she may file a complaint. A crime victim includes any person who has been directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia.
The Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance (PDF 1.76 mb) establishes policy and provides guidance to be followed by DOJ personnel in their interactions with crime victims and witnesses. In addition to use by DOJ, the guidelines are also adapted for use by other federal agencies. The 2011 edition clarifies DOJ’s responsibilities to provide mandated rights and services enumerated in the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) and the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act (VRRA) as well as other statutory requirements. Furthermore, the guidelines examine the unique requirements of vulnerable victims, including a recent update in May 2012 that addresses the scope of the federal child abuse reporting requirement under section 13031 of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 13031.
Additionally, some states have offices to which victims’ rights violations can be reported. These have been identified in the U.S. Resource Map.