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We are the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Please join us as we forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.

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Victims' Rights and Backlog Reduction Laws


Right to Timely Disposition

Just as defendants are guaranteed the right to a speedy trial, a number of states have passed laws containing provisions giving victims of crime the right to the timely disposition of their cases. In states where victims’ rights are not contingent on the arrest of the perpetrator or the filing of charges, sexual assault victims whose sexual assault kits have remained untested for long periods of time may be able to argue that they have not been afforded their right to the timely disposition of their cases under the law. 

The following are examples of the right to the timely disposition that might apply:

KANSAS

Kan. Stat. Ann. §74-7333. Bill of rights for victims of crime.


(a) In order to ensure the fair and compassionate treatment of victims of crime and to increase the effectiveness of the criminal justice system by affording victims of crime certain basic rights and considerations, victims of crime shall have the following rights: 

(1) Victims should be treated with courtesy, compassion and with respect for their dignity and privacy and should suffer the minimum of necessary inconvenience from their involvement with the criminal justice system.

MASSACHUSETTS

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 258B, §3. Rights afforded victims witnesses or family members.


To provide victims a meaningful role in the criminal justice system, victims and witnesses of crime, or in the event the victim is deceased, the family members of the victim, shall be afforded the following basic and fundamental rights, to the greatest extent possible and subject to appropriation and to available resources, with priority for services to be provided to victims of crimes against the person and crimes where physical injury to a person results: 


(f) for victims and witnesses, to a prompt disposition of the case in which they are involved as a victim or a witness;


NEBRASKA

Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-1848. Victims and witnesses of crimes; rights; enumerated


(2) Victims and witnesses of crimes shall have the following rights: 

(i) To be entitled to a speedy disposition of the case in which they are involved as a victim or witness in order to minimize the length of time they must endure the stress of their responsibilities in connection with the matter;


This project is supported by Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K048 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.