Crime Victims’ Rights
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act creates several enforcement mechanisms for victims of crime. Either the crime victim or the Government may assert the victim’s rights in federal district court. If, after making a motion in the district court, a victim or the Government is not satisfied that the victim’s rights have been recognized, either may file a petition for a writ of mandamus with the court of appeals. The court of appeals must issue a decision within 72 hours of filing, and if it denies the relief sought, must state in a written opinion the reasons for the denial.
There are resources available to assist crime victims in criminal cases. The National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI) actively promotes balance and fairness in the justice system through crime victim centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. NCVLI has several initiatives to ensure that victims’ rights are actively enforced.
- Direct Representation – NCVLI, victim legal clinics, the National Alliance of Victims’ Rights Attorneys, and individual victim attorneys work to ensure representation of victims across the country.
- Amicus Curiae Participation – NCVLI’s legal team strategically analyzes cases and identifies those that could benefit from participation of an amicus curiae (friend of the court).
- Technical Assistance – NCVLI’s legal team provides legal research and writing to attorneys and advocates nationwide who are working directly with victims in criminal and civil matters.
Below are several victim legal clinics once funded under an OVC grant to NCVLI and currently providing or facilitating legal services to victims in the enforcement of their rights:
The National Crime Victim Bar Association provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil suits, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local area, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime.