Virginia is one of thirty-two states that have amended their constitutions to include rights for crime victims. Voters in Virginia ratified a state victims' rights constitutional amendment during the November 1996 elections with 84.2% of the vote.
The amendment reads as follows:
Article I, Section 8-A
Rights of victims of crime. That in criminal prosecutions, the victim shall be accorded fairness, dignity and a respect by the officers, employees and agents of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and officers of the courts and, as the General Assembly may define and provide by law, may be accorded rights to reasonable and appropriate notice, information, restitution, protection, and access to a meaningful role in the criminal justice process. These rights may include, but not be limited to, the following:
- The right to protection from further harm or reprisal through the imposition of appropriate bail and conditions of release;
- The right to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness at all stages of the criminal justice system;
- The right to address the circuit court at the time sentence is imposed;
- The right to receive timely notification of judicial proceedings;
- The right to restitution;
- The right to be advised of release from custody or escape of the offender, whether before or after disposition; and
- The right to confer with the prosecution.
This section does not confer upon any person a right to appeal or modify any decision in a criminal proceeding, does not abridge any other right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or this Constitution, and does not create any cause of action for compensation or damages against the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, any officer, employee or agent of the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, or any officer of the court.