Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime

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.

Issues: Constitutional Amendments

State Amendments

Across the country, concerned citizens have been working to amend state constitutions to provide rights for victims of crime.  While every state provides some legal rights for crime victims as part of their state code, those that have amended their constitutions have sought to ensure three things:

  • crime victims' rights are protected in the same way that defendants' rights are protected;
  • crime victims' rights are a permanent part of the criminal justice system; and
  • courts would have the power to enforce crime victims' rights if they are violated.

To date, 32 states have amended their constitutions to include rights of crime victims. Check your state (use state-by-state menu above right) to read the text of any victims' rights amendment. We have also prepared a comparison of the state amendments.

Federal Amendment

Many crime victim advocates are also seeking to amend the United States Constitution.  In addition to having the same benefits as state crime victims' rights consitutional amendments, a federal amendment would provide uniformity to victims' rights: a person victimized by crime anywhere in the United States would be entitled to a standard set of rights to be informed, present, and heard during the criminal justice process.

A Federal crime victims' rights amendment is currently being considered. H. J. RES. 106 would guarantee victims the following rights: to be notified of and not excluded from public proceedings relating to the offense; to be heard at proceedings involving release, plea, or sentencing; to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; to be notified of the release or escape of the accused; to due consideration of the victims safety; and to restitution. It would also give crime victims standing to assert and enforce their rights.