The National Center for Victims of Crime promotes public policies that improve our national response to victims of crime. The following issues constitute our policy priorities for the coming year. In addition, the National Center will continue to support other efforts with partners at the federal, state, and local levels to promote justice and healing for victims of crime.
Secure Resources for Victims of Crime
Federal and state resources for victims of crime have been insufficient to meet the substantial and complex needs of crime victims. The National Center for Victims of Crime is committed to increasing federal funding for victims, including funding under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The National Center will also work to ensure that state funding sources for victim services are protected and will work with states to identify additional sources of funding for victims and victim service programs.
Extend Rights and Resources to All Victims of Crime
All victims of crime should be treated with dignity and respect by the criminal justice system and should have access to the services they need to rebuild their lives. The National Center will promote rights and services for victims of all crime, including victims of financial crime, victims with mental illness, immigrant victims, victims with disabilities, victims of crime on cruise ships, and other underserved victims of crime.
Improve the Collection of Crime Victim Restitution
While victims of crime can seek orders of restitution from convicted offenders in every state, too often find that restitution is never collected. The National Center will promote the increased collection of crime victim restitution.
Increase Safety for Crime Victims and Witnesses
Too many victims and witnesses are unable to obtain protective orders when they have been threatened. Many of those who are granted protective orders find those orders are not enforced. The National Center will work to ensure that protective orders are available to intimidated witnesses and to all victims of crime who are harassed, stalked, or whose safety is threatened, and to ensure that those orders are enforced consistently.
The crime of stalking remains under-recognized and victims of stalking continue to be underserved. To enhance the nation's response to stalking, the National Center will work to increase public awareness of stalking and its impact on victims, promote training for civil and criminal justice professionals in effective responses to stalking, strengthen stalking laws, and increase victim service providers' capacity to respond to victims.
Expand Crime Victim Compensation
The National Center supports expansion of crime victim compensation programs to provide benefits to victims of financial crime; victims of crimes where violence is threatened; children and other witnesses to violence; intimidated witnesses; victims of school-based crime; and victims of hit-and-run offenses. The National Center will also promote the expansion of benefits to include payment for relocation and financial counseling.
Protect Victim Access to Civil Justice
Across the country jurisdictions are enacting tort reform legislation, limiting the damage awards in civil cases. The National Center will work to ensure that such laws contain exceptions for crime victims, so that they retain the ability to recover from those whose actions have harmed them. The National Center will also work to protect victims from frivolous or harassing civil actions brought by perpetrators and to extend statutes of limitation that bar victims from pursuing justice.
Increase Protections for Teen Victims
Teen victims of bullying, harassment, stalking, dating violence, and other crimes often have nowhere to turn for effective recourse. The National Center will work to promote laws and policies that protect teen victims of crime, advance their rights, and ensure that teen voices are heard on these issues.
Improve our Response to Vulnerable Adult Victims
Vulnerable adults, including those who are elderly or have disabilities, are often targets of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation, yet remain largely unrecognized and underserved. The National Center is committed to passing and strengthening laws to protect vulnerable adult victims of crime and to mobilizing the resources to help such victims recover.
Protect Children from Internet Predators
Children and teens can be unwittingly exposed to harm from those they meet on the Internet--often predators searching for vulnerable children. The National Center will work to ensure that children and communities are aware of the dangers of Internet predators and that protections for children are available under the law.