Rights for Crime Victims
by: Pat Hernandez, April 13, 2011 10:04:00 pm
FBI statistics last year showed all major crime categories dropped. Since its inception in 1981, National Crime Victims' Rights Week has challenged our country to reshape the future of crime victims in terms of rights, protections, and resources, to enable survivors to rebuild strong healthy lives. Houston Police Assistant Chief Michael Dirden says there was a time when victims had no voice in the criminal justice system.
"When murder victims and families were excluded from courtrooms. When assault victims had to pay their own medical expenses. National Crime Victims' Rights Week honors the victims and advocates who confronted such injustices in our system, and helped produce a nationwide system of compensation for victims and their families."
Stephanie Frogge is a professional crime victims services consultant. She says people often don't report a crime because they're able to get their needs met in some other way.
Stephanie Frogge, a professional crime victims services consultant
"It's that reality that I think points to the future that we must become flexible enough and versatile enough as a field to be able to ask the question 'What do you need as a victim survivor?' in addition to simply saying these are your rights as a victim survivor."
Houston's crime victims advocate Andy Kahan says they're the only unwilling participants in the criminal justice system.
"No one has ever asked, or wanted to be a crime victim. It's the least we can do in government, is to meet their needs, service whatever needs they have for rehabilitation, counseling and do process, and that's what we do."
Kahan says its a group you never want to join, but unfortunately someone else fills out that membership for you.