Crime Victims' Rights in America
An Historical Overview
"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 crime victim compensation program
is established in California.
- By 1970, five additional compensation
programs are created -- New York, Hawaii,
Massachusetts, Maryland and the Virgin Islands.
- The first three victim assistance programs
. Aid for Victims of Crime in St. Louis,
. Bay Area Women Against Rape in San
Francisco, California; and
. Rape Crisis Center in Washington, D.C.
- 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 Attorney.
- 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 women's shelters.
- 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, Wisconsin.
- 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.
- The National Association of Crime Victim
Compensation Boards is established by the
existing 22 compensation programs to promote
the creation of a nationwide network of
- 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
- 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 1981.
- 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,
- 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 recog-nition of critical issues facing battered women,
and sees the birth of several state coalitions.
- 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
- 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 children.
- The Attorney General's Task Force on
Violent Crime recommends that a separate Task
Force be created to consider victims' issues.
- 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
- 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, Massachusetts.
- 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
- 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 assistance.
- 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, with
support from the National Institute of Justice.
Conferees develop recommendations for the
judiciary on victims' rights and services.
- President Reagan proclaims the first National
Missing Children's Day in observance of the
disappearance of missing child Etan Patz.
- 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 nationwide.
- 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 programs.
- President Reagan signs the Justice Assistance
Act, which establishes a financial assistance
program for state and local government and
funds 200 new victim service programs.
- 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 pro-vides a Congressional mandate for the Center.
- The Spiritual Dimension in Victim Services
is founded to involve the religious community in
violence prevention and victim assistance.
- 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 reporting.
- 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 level.
- 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
Investigation, highlighting on the federal level
the important needs of victims of rape and sexual
- A victim/witness notification system is
established within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
- The Office for Victims of Crime hosts the
first national symposium on child molestation.
- 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 university.
- Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) calls for a
comprehensive Sane National Alcohol Policy
(SNAP) to curb aggressive promotions aimed at
- OVC establishes the National Victims
Resource Center, now named the Office for
Victims of Crime Resource Center (OVCRC) to
serve as a clearinghouse for OVC publications
and other resource information.
- 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
- The Office for Victims of Crime awards the
first grants to support state victim compensation
and assistance programs.
- Two years after its passage, the Victims of
Crime Act is amended by the Children's Justice
Act to provide funds specifically for the
investigation and prosecution of child abuse.
- 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.
- Compensation programs have been
established in thirty-five states.
- 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
- 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.
- OVC establishes funds for the Victim
Assistance in Indian Country (VAIC) grant
program to provide direct services to Native
Americans by establishing "on-reservation"
victim assistance programs in Indian Country.
- 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.
- 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
over 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 domestic violence, homicide and
drunk driving. In addition, VOCA amendments
added a new "priority" category of funding
victim assistance programs at the behest of
MADD and POMC for "previously underserved
victims of crime."
- OVC also establishes a Federal Emergency
Fund for victims in the federal criminal justice
- The legislatures in Texas and Washington
pass their respective constitutional amendments,
which are both ratified by voters in November.
- OVC provides funding for the first time to
the National Association of Crime Victim
Compensation Boards to expand national training
and technical assistance efforts.
- 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
- The Victims of Child Abuse 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.
- The Victims' Rights and Restitution Act of
1990 incorporates a Bill of Rights for federal
crime victims and codifies services that should
be available to victims of crime.
- 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 annually.
- The National Child Search Assistance Act
requires law enforcement to enter reports of
missing children and unidentified persons in the
- U.S. Representative Ilena Ros-Lehtinen
(R-FL) files the first Congressional Joint
Resolution to place victims' rights in the U.S.
- 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. Congress.
- 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
- 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
- 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 federal felony.
- 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 appropriate services.
- 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 overly broad and, in the final
analysis, unconstitutional. Notoriety-for-profit
statutes had been passed by many states at this
time to prevent convicted criminals from
profiting from the proceeds of depictions of their
crime in the media or publications. States must
now review their existing statutes to come into
compliance with the Supreme Court's decision.
- By the end of 1991, seven states have
incorporated victims' rights into their state
- OVC provides funding to the National
Victim Center for Civil Legal Remedies for
Crime Victims to train victim advocates
nationwide on additional avenues for victims to
seek justice within the civil justice system.
- 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
- 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.
- The first national conference is convened,
using OVC funds, that brings together
representatives from VOCA victim assistance
and victim compensation programs.
- Wisconsin ratifies its constitutional amend-ment for victims' rights, bringing the total
number of states with these amendments to 14.
- President Clinton signs 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 Columbia.
- 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.
- President Clinton signs a comprehensive
package of federal victims' rights legislation as
part of the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act. The Act includes:
. Violence Against Women Act, which
authorizes more than $1 billion in
funding for programs to combat violence
. Enhanced VOCA funding provisions.
. Establishment of a National Child Sex
. Enhanced sentences for drunk drivers
with child passengers.
- Kentucky becomes the first state to institute
automated telephone voice notification to crime
victims of their offender's status and release
- OVC establishes the Community Crisis
Response (CCR) program, using the NOVA
model, to improve services to victims of violent
crimes in communities that have experienced
crimes resulting in multiple victimizations.
- The Federal Crime Victims Fund deposits
- 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 implemen-tation of the Violence Against Women Act.
- The first class graduates from the National
Victim Assistance Academy in Washington,
D.C. Supported by the Office for Victims of
Crime, the university-based Academy provides
an academically credited 45-hour curriculum on
victimology, victims' rights and myriad other
- Federal Victims' Rights Constitutional
Amendments are introduced in both houses of
Congress with bi-partisan support.
- Both presidential candidates and the Attorney
General endorse the concept of a Victims' Rights
- The Federal Crime Victims Fund reaches an
historic high with deposits over $525 million.
- Eight states ratify the passage of
constitutional amendments for victims' rights --
raising the total number of state constitutional
amendments to 29 nationwide.
- The Community Notification Act, known as
"Megan's Law," provides for notifying
communities of the location of convicted sex
offenders by amendment to the national Child
Sexual Abuse Registry legislation.
- President Clinton signs the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act providing one
million dollars in funding to strengthen
antiterrorism efforts, making restitution
mandatory in violent crime cases, and expanding
the compensation and assistance services for
victims of terrorism both at home and abroad,
including victims in the military.
- The Office for Victims of Crime uses its new
authority under the Antiterrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act to provide substantial
financial assistance to the victims and survivors
of the Oklahoma City bombing.
- The Mandatory Victims' Restitution Act,
enacted as Title II of the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act, allows federal
courts to award "public harm" restitution
directly to state VOCA victim assistance
programs. As a result of the new sentencing
guidelines, judges can require federal offenders
in certain drug offense cases to pay "community
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline is
established to provide crisis intervention
information and referrals to victims of domestic
violence and their friends and family.
- OVC launches a number of international
crime victim initiatives including working to
foster worldwide implementation of a United
Nations declaration on victims' rights and
working to better assist Americans who are
- The Church Arson Prevention Act is signed
into law in July, in response to increasing
numbers of acts of arson against religious
institutions around the country.
- The Drug-Induced Rape Prevention Act is
enacted to address the emerging issue of the use
of sedating drugs by rapists on victims.
- The Office for Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S.
Department of Justice issues the Juvenile Justice
Action Plan that includes recommendations for
victims' rights and services for victims of
juvenile offenders within the juvenile justice
- President Clinton directs the Attorney
General to hold the federal system to a higher
standard of services for crime victims.
- In January, a federal victims' rights
constitutional amendment is re-introduced in the
opening days of the 105th Congress with strong
- In February, OVC convenes the first
National Symposium on Victims of Federal
Crimes. Coordinated by the National
Organization for Victim Assistance, the
symposium provides intensive training to nearly
1,000 federal employees who work with crime
victims around the world.
- In March, Congress passes at historic speed
the Victims Rights Clarification Act of 1997 to
clarify existing federal law allowing victims to
attend a trial and to appear as "impact
witnesses" during the sentencing phase of both
capital and non-capital cases. Supported by the
Justice Department, President Clinton
immediately signs the Act, allowing the victims
and survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to
both observe the trial that is scheduled to begin
within days and to provide input later at
- In April, the Senate Judiciary Committee
conducts hearings on the proposed federal
constitutional amendment. While not endorsing
specific language, Attorney General Janet Reno
testifies in support of federal constitutional rights
for crime victims.
- In June, President Clinton reaffirms his
support of federal constitutional rights for crime
victims in a Rose Garden ceremony attended by
members of Congress, criminal justice officials,
and local, state, and national victims' rights
organizations. Also that month, the Judiciary
Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives
conducts its first hearing on the proposed
- In July, the Crime Victims Assistance Act is
introduced into the U.S. Senate, offering full-scale reform of federal rules and federal law to
establish stronger rights and protections for
victims of federal crime. This legislation further
proposes to assist victims of state crime through
the infusion of additional resources to make the
criminal justice system more supportive of crime
- To fully recognize the sovereignty of Indian
Nations, OVC for the first time provides victim
assistance grants in Indian Country directly to
- A federal anti-stalking law is enacted by
- The Federal Crime Victims Fund reaches its
second highest year in fund collections with
deposits totaling $363 million.
- Due to the large influx of VOCA funds in
the previous fiscal year, OVC hosts a series of
regional meetings with state VOCA
administrators to encourage states to develop
multi-year funding strategies to help stabilize
local program funding, expand outreach to
previously underserved victims, and to support
the development and implementation of
technologies to improve victims' rights and
- OVC continues its support of the victims and
survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by
funding additional advocates, crisis counseling,
and travel expenses to court proceedings for the
bombing victims. When the venue of the trial is
changed to Denver, Colorado, OVC provides
funding for a special closed circuit broadcast to
victims and survivors in Oklahoma City.
- OVC representatives join the United States
Delegation to the United Nations Commission on
Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention. OVC
plays a leadership role in the development of an
International Victim Assistance Training Manual
to implement the U.N. Declaration of Basic
Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and
Abuse of Power.
- The National Victim Center utilizes its
extensive legislative database to create the
Legislative Sourcebook, a comprehensive
compendium of victims' rights laws in all states.
Developed with support from OVC, the
Sourcebook becomes the definitive digest of state
legislation on crime victims' rights laws for the
- The third National Victim Assistance
Academy is held, bringing the total number of
students graduated to over 300 from 48 states.
Supported by OVC and sponsored by the
Victims' Assistance Legal Organization,
California State University-Fresno, and the
Medical University of South Carolina, the 45-hour Academy is conducted simultaneously at
four universities across the nation linked by
distance learning technology.
- A comprehensive national training for
VOCA Compensation and Assistance programs
is hosted by the National Association of Crime
Victim Compensation Boards and the National
Organization for Victim Assistance with support
from OVC. VOCA representatives from all 50
states and every territory are in attendance.
- During National Crime Victims Rights
Week, OVC officially launches its homepage
Internet access to its comprehensive resources on
victims' rights and services.
- New Directions from the Field: Victims
Rights and Services for the 21st Century is
completed with support from OVC. It assesses
the nation's progress in meeting the
recommendations set forth in the Final Report of
the 1982 President's Task Force on Victims of
Crime and issues over 250 new
recommendations from the field for the next
- Senate Joint Resolution 44, a new version of
the federal Victims' Rights Amendment, is
introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Kyl and
Dianne Feinstein. The Senate Judiciary
Committee subsequently approves SJR 44 by an
- Four new states pass state victims' rights
constitutional amendments: Louisiana by a voter
margin of approval of 69%; Mississippi by 93%;
Montana by 71%; and Tennessee by 89%. Also
in 1998, the Supreme Court of Oregon overturns
the Oregon state victims' rights amendment,
originally passed in 1996, citing structural
- The fourth National Victim Assistance
Academy (NVAA), sponsored and funded by the
U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims
of Crime, is held at four university sites around
the country, bringing the total number of NVAA
graduates to nearly 700. To date, students from
all fifty states, one American territory, and three
foreign countries have attended the Academy.
- PL 105-244, the Higher Education
Amendments of 1998, is passed. Part E of this
legislation, "Grants to Combat Violent Crimes
Against Women on Campus," is authorized
through the year 2003, and appropriates a total
of $10 million in grant funding to the Violence
Against Women Grants Office for fiscal year
1999. Another primary aim of this legislation is
to reduce binge drinking and illegal alcohol
consumption on college campuses.
Compiled by the National Center for Victims of Crime with the support and assistance of the U.S. Department of
Justice Office for Victims of Crime, Victims' Assistance Legal Organization, Inc. (VALOR), and the many national,
state and local victim service providers who offered documentation of their key victims' rights landmark activities.
The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.