"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
The first three victim assistance programs are created:
The Federal Law Enforcement
Assistance Administration (LEAA) funds the
first victim/witness programs in the Brooklyn
and Milwaukee District Attorneys' offices, plus
seven others through a grant to the National
District Attorneys Association, to create model
programs of assistance for victims, encourage
victim cooperation, and improve prosecution.
The first law enforcement-based victim
assistance programs are established in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana.
The U.S. Congress passes the Child
Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act which
establishes the National Center on Child Abuse
and Neglect (NCCAN). The new Center
creates an information clearinghouse, provides
technical assistance and model programs.
The first "Victims' Rights Week" is
organized by the Philadelphia District
Citizen activists from across the
country unite to expand victim services and
increase recognition of victims' rights through
the formation of the National Organization for
Victim Assistance (NOVA).
The National Organization for Women
forms a task force to examine the problem of
battering. It demands research into the
problem, along with money for battered
Nebraska becomes the first state to
abolish the marital rape exemption.
The first national conference on
battered women is sponsored by the Milwaukee
Task Force on Women in Milwaukee,
In Fresno County, California, Chief
Probation Officer James Rowland creates the
first victim impact statement to provide the
judiciary with an objective inventory of victim
injuries and losses prior to sentencing.
Women's Advocates in St. Paul,
Minnesota starts the first hotline for battered
women. Women's Advocates and Haven House
in Pasadena, California establish the first
shelters for battered women.
Oregon becomes the first state to enact
mandatory arrest in domestic violence cases.
The National Coalition Against Sexual
Assault (NCASA) is formed to combat sexual
violence and promote services for rape victims.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is organized as a voice for the battered women's movement on a national level. NCADV initiates the introduction of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act in the U.S. Congress.
Parents of Murdered Children
(POMC), a self-help support group, is founded
in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Minnesota becomes the first state to
allow probable cause (warrantless) arrest in
cases of domestic assault, regardless of whether
a protection order had been issued.
Frank G. Carrington, considered by
many to be "the father of the victims' rights
movement," founds the Crime Victims' Legal
Advocacy Institute, Inc., to promote the rights
of crime victims in the civil and criminal justice
systems. The nonprofit organization was
renamed VALOR, the Victims' Assistance
Legal Organization, Inc., in 1981.
The Office on Domestic Violence is
established in the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, but is later closed in
The U.S. Congress fails to enact the
Federal Law Enforcement Assistance
Administration (LEAA) and Federal funding
for victims' programs is phased out. Many
grassroots and "system-based" programs close.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
(MADD) is founded after the death of 13-year-old Cari Lightner, who was killed by a repeat
offender drunk driver. The first two MADD
chapters are created in Sacramento, California
and Annapolis, Maryland.
The U.S.Congress passes the Parental
Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.
Wisconsin passes the first "Crime
Victims' Bill of Rights."
The First National Day of Unity in
October is established by NCADV to mourn
battered women who have died, celebrate
women who have survived the violence, and
honor all who have worked to defeat domestic
violence. This Day becomes Domestic Violence
Awareness Week and, in 1987, expands to a
month of awareness activities each October.
NCADV holds its first national
conference in Washington, D.C., which gains
Federal recognition of critical issues facing
battered women, and sees the birth of several
The first Victim Impact Panel is
sponsored by Remove Intoxicated Drivers
(RID) in Oswego County, New York.
Ronald Reagan becomes the first
President to proclaim "Crime Victims' Rights
Week" in April.
The disappearance and murder of
missing child Adam Walsh prompts a national
campaign to raise public awareness about child
abduction and enact laws to better protect
The Attorney General's Task Force on
Violent Crime recommends that a separate
Task Force be created to consider victims'
In a Rose Garden ceremony, President
Reagan appoints the Task Force on Victims of
Crime, which holds public hearings in six cities
across the nation to create a greatly needed
national focus on the needs of crime victims.
The Task Force Final Report offers 68
recommendations that become the framework
for the advancement of new programs and
policies. Its final recommendation, to amend
the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
to guarantee that "...the victim, in every
criminal prosecution, shall have the right to be
present and to be heard at all critical stages of
judicial proceedings...," becomes a vital source
of new energy pushing toward the successful
efforts to secure state constitutional
amendments through the 1980s and beyond.
The Federal Victim and Witness
Protection Act of 1982 brings "fair treatment
standards" to victims and witnesses in the
Federal criminal justice system.
California voters overwhelmingly pass Proposition 8, which guarantees restitution and other statutory reforms to crime victims.
The passage of the Missing Children's
Act of 1982 helps parents guarantee that
identifying information on their missing child is
promptly entered into the FBI National Crime
Information Center (NCIC) computer system.
The first Victim Impact Panel
sponsored by MADD, which educates drunk
drivers about the devastating impact of their
criminal acts, is organized in Rutland,
The Office for Victims of Crime
(OVC) is created by the U.S. Department of
Justice within the Office of Justice Programs to
implement recommendations from the
President's Task Force on Victims of Crime.
OVC establishes a national resource center,
trains professionals, and develops model
legislation to protect victims' rights.
The U.S. Attorney General establishes
a Task Force on Family Violence, which holds
six public hearings across the United States.
The U.S. Attorney General issues
guidelines for Federal victim and witness
In April, President Reagan honors
crime victims in a White House Rose Garden
The First National Conference of the
Judiciary on Victims of Crime is held at the
National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.
President Reagan proclaims the first
National Missing Children's Day in observance
of the disappearance of missing child Etan
The International Association of Chiefs
of Police Board of Governors adopts a Crime
Victims' Bill of Rights and establishes a
victims' rights committee to bring about
renewed emphasis on the needs of crime
victims by law enforcement officials
The passage of the Victims Of Crime
Act (VOCA) establishes the Crime Victims
Fund, made up of Federal criminal fines,
penalties and bond forfeitures, to support state
victim compensation and local victim service
President Reagan signs the Justice
Assistance Act, which establishes a financial
assistance program for state and local
government and funds 200 new victim service
The National Minimum Drinking Age
Act of 1984 is enacted, providing strong
incentives to states without "21" laws to raise
the minimum age for drinking, saving
thousands of young lives in years to come
The first of several international
affiliates of MADD is chartered in Canada.
The National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children (NCMEC) is created as the
national resource for missing children. Passage
of the Missing Children's Assistance Act
provides a Congressional mandate for the
The Spiritual Dimension in Victim
Services is founded to involve the religious
community in violence prevention and victim
Crime Prevention Week in February is
marked by a White House ceremony with
The Task Force on Family Violence
presents its report to the U.S. Attorney General
with recommendations for action, including:
the criminal justice system's response to
battered women; prevention and awareness;
education and training; and data collection and
The U.S. Congress passes the Family
Violence Prevention and Services Act, which
earmarks Federal funding for programs serving
victims of domestic violence.
The ad-hoc committee on the
constitutional amendment formalizes its plans to
secure passage of amendments at the state
Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) is organized at the first police survivors' seminar held in Washington, D.C. by 110 relatives of officers killed in the line of duty.
The first National Symposium on
Sexual Assault is co-sponsored by the Office of
Justice Programs and the Federal Bureau of
A victim/witness notification system is
established within the Federal Bureau of
The Office for Victims of Crime hosts
the first national symposium on child
Victim/witness Coordinator positions
are established in the U.S. Attorneys' offices
within the U.S. Department of Justice.
California State University, Fresno
initiates the first Victim Services Certificate
Program offered for academic credit by a
Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) calls
for a comprehensive Sane National Alcohol
Policy (SNAP) to curb aggressive promotions
aimed at youth.
The Federal Crime Victims Fund
deposits total $68 million.
The National Victim Center is founded
in honor of Sunny von Bulow to promote the
rights and needs of crime victims, and to
educate Americans about the devastating effect
of crime on our society.
The United Nations General Assembly
passes the International Declaration on the
Rights of Victims of Crime and the Abuse of
President Reagan announces a Child
Safety Partnership with 26 members. Its
mission is to enhance private sector efforts to
promote child safety, to clarify information
about child victimization, and to increase public
awareness of child abuse.
The U.S. Surgeon General issues a
report identifying domestic violence as a major
public health problem.
The Office for Victims of Crime
awards the first grants to support state victim
compensation and assistance programs.
Over 100 constitutional amendment
supporters meet in Washington, D.C. at a
forum sponsored by NOVA to refine a national
plan to secure state constitutional amendments
for victims of crime.
Rhode Island passes a constitutional
amendment granting victims the right to
restitution, to submit victim impact statements,
and to be treated with dignity and respect.
MADD's "Red Ribbon Campaign"
enlists motorists to display a red ribbon on their
automobiles, pledging to drive safe and sober
during the holidays. This national public
awareness effort has since become an annual
The Victims' Constitutional
Amendment Network (VCAN) and Steering
Committee is formed at a meeting hosted by the
National Victim Center.
Security on Campus, Inc. (SOC) is
established by Howard and Connie Clery,
following the tragic robbery, rape and murder
of their daughter Jeanne at Lehigh University in
Pennsylvania. SOC raises national awareness
about the hidden epidemic of violence on our
The American Correctional Association
establishes a Task Force on Victims of Crime.
NCADV establishes the first national
toll-free domestic violence hotline.
Victim advocates in Florida, frustrated by five years of inaction on a proposed constitutional amendment by their legislature, begin a petition drive. Thousands of citizens sign petitions supporting constitutional protection for victims' rights. The Florida legislature reconsiders, and the constitutional amendment appears on the 1988 ballot.
The National Aging Resource Center
on Elder Abuse (NARCEA) is established in a
cooperative agreement among the American
Public Welfare Association, the National
Association of State Units on Aging, and the
University of Delaware. Renamed the National
Center on Elder Abuse, it continues to provide
information and statistics.
State v. Ciskie is the first case to allow
the use of expert testimony to explain the
behavior and mental state of an adult rape
victim. The testimony is used to show why a
victim of repeated physical and sexual assaults
by her intimate partner would not immediately
call the police or take action. The jury convicts
the defendant on four counts of rape.
The Federal Drunk Driving Prevention
Act is passed, and states raise the minimum
drinking age to 21.
Vice President George Bush endorses
victims' rights in a major policy speech about
crime and victimization in Trenton, New
Constitutional amendments are
introduced in Arizona, California, Connecticut,
Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina and
Washington. Florida's amendment is placed on
the November ballot where it passes with 90%
of the vote. Michigan's constitutional
amendment passes with 80% of the vote.
The first "Indian Nations: Justice for
Victims of Crime" conference is sponsored by
the Office for Victims of Crime in Rapid City,
VOCA amendments legislatively
establish the Office for Victims of Crime,
elevate the position of Director by making
Senate confirmation necessary for appointment,
and induce state compensation programs to
cover victims of homicide and drunk driving.
Crime victims and advocates in Arizona plan to launch an initiative/petition drive to secure a constitutional amendment.
The legislatures in Texas and
Washington pass their respective constitutional
amendments, which are both ratified by voters
The Federal Crime Victims Fund
deposits total over $146 million.
The U.S. Congress passes the Hate
Crime Statistics Act requiring the U.S.
Attorney General to collect data of incidence of
certain crimes motivated by prejudice based on
race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
The Student Right-to-Know and
Campus Security Act, requiring institutions of
higher education to disclose murder, rape,
robbery and other crimes on campus, is signed
into law by President Bush.
The Child Protection Act of 1990,
which features reforms to make the Federal
criminal justice system less traumatic for child
victims and witnesses, is passed by the U.S.
U.S. Congress passes legislation
proposed by MADD to prevent drunk drivers
and other offenders from filing bankruptcy to
avoid paying criminal restitution or civil fines.
The Arizona petition drive to place the
victims' rights constitutional amendment on the
ballot succeeds, and it is ratified by voters.
The first National Incidence Study on
Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway
Children in America shows that over one
million children fall victim to abduction
The National Child Search Assistance
Act requires law enforcement to enter reports
of missing children and unidentified persons in
the NCIC computer.
U.S. Representative Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) files the first Congressional Joint Resolution to place victims' rights in the U.S. Constitution.
The Violence Against Women Act of
1991 is considered by the U.S. Congress.
California State University, Fresno
approves the first Bachelors Degree Program in
Victimology in the nation.
The Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill
of Rights Act is introduced in the U.S.
The results of the first national public
opinion poll to examine citizens' attitudes about
violence and victimization, America Speaks
Out, are released by the National Victim Center
during National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
The Attorney General's Summit on
Law Enforcement and Violent Crime focuses
national attention on victims' rights in the
criminal justice system.
The U.S. Attorney General issues new
comprehensive guidelines that establish
procedures for the Federal criminal justice
system to respond to the needs of crime
victims. The 1991 Attorney General
Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance
implement new protections of the Crime
Control Act of 1990, integrating the
requirements of the Federal Crime Victims' Bill
of Rights, the Victims of Child Abuse Act and
the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982.
The first national conference that
addresses crime victims' rights and needs in
corrections is sponsored by the Office for
Victims of Crime in California.
The first International Conference on
Campus Sexual Assault is held in Orlando,
The American Probation and Parole
Association (APPA) establishes a Victim Issues
Committee to examine victims' issues and
concerns related to community corrections.
The International Parental Child
Kidnapping Act makes the act of unlawfully
removing a child outside the United States a
The Spiritual Dimension in Victim
Services facilitates a conference of leaders of
13 religious denominations to plan ways in
which these large religious bodies can increase
awareness of crime victims' needs and provide
The New Jersey legislature passes a
victims' rights constitutional amendment, which
is ratified by voters in November.
Colorado legislators introduce a
constitutional amendment on the first day of
National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Fifteen
days later, the bill is unanimously passed by
both Houses to be placed on the ballot in 1992.
In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled in Simon & Schuster v. New York
Crime Victims Board that New York's
notoriety-for-profit statute was overbroad and,
in the final analysis, unconstitutional.
Rape in America: A Report to the
Nation, published during National Crime
Victims' Rights Week by the National Crime
Victims Research and Treatment Center and the
National Victim Center, clarifies the scope and
devastating effect of rape in this nation,
including the fact that 683,000 women are
raped annually in the United States.
The Association of Paroling
Authorities, International establishes a Victim
Issues Committee to examine victims' needs,
rights and services in parole processes.
The U.S. Congress reauthorizes the
Higher Education Bill which includes the
Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights.
The Battered Women's Testimony Act,
which urges states to accept expert testimony in
criminal cases involving battered women, is
passed by Congress and signed into law by
In a unanimous decision, the U.S.
Supreme Court -- in R.A.V. vs.City of St. Paul
-- struck down a local hate crimes ordinance in
Five states -- Colorado, Kansas,
Illinois, Missouri and New Mexico -- ratify
constitutional amendments for victims' rights.
Twenty-eight states pass anti-stalking
Massachusetts passes a landmark bill
creating a statewide computerized domestic
violence registry and requires judges to check
the registry when handling such cases.
Wisconsin ratifies its constitutional
amendment for victims' rights, bringing the
total number of states with these amendments to
Congress passes the "Brady Bill"
requiring a waiting period for the purchase of
Congress passes the Child Sexual Abuse
Registry Act establishing a national repository
for information on child sex offenders.
Twenty-two states pass stalking
statutes, bringing the total number of states
with stalking laws to 50, plus the District of
The American Correctional Association
Victims Committee publishes the landmark
Report and Recommendations on Victims of
Juvenile Crime, which offers guidelines for
improving victims' rights and services when the
offender is a juvenile.
Six additional states pass constitutional
amendments for victims' rights - the largest
number ever in a single year - bringing the total
number of states with amendments to 20.
States with new amendments include: Alabama,
Alaska, Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and Utah.
Congress passes the most comprehensive
package of Federal victims' rights legislation as
part of the Violent Crime Control and
LawEnforcement Act. The Act includes:
The Federal Crime Victims Fund
deposits total $233,907,256.
The Crime Victims' Rights Act of 1995
is introduced in the U.S. Congress.
Legislatures in three states -- Indiana,
Nebraska, and North Carolina -- pass
constitutional amendments which will be placed
on the ballot in 1996.
The National Victims' Constitutional
Amendment Network proposes the first draft of
language for a Federal constitutional
amendment for victims' rights.
The U.S. Department of Justice
convenes a national conference to encourage
implementation of the Violence Against Women
Compiled by the National Victim Center with the
support and assistance of: