National Crime Victims' Rights Week 2007
[Descriptions of graphic elements appear in brackets. Throughout the video, images and video clips fade in and out as victims speak about their experiences.]
[Start of video.]
Paul Charlton, U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona: 25 years ago we looked at victims of crime as we would any other piece of physical evidence. [A stylized graphic treatment of small boxes containing pictures of victims moves across the screen. Images include a young white woman and a young African-American woman.]
Dr. Lorraine Chase, Supervisor in the Victim Witness Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia: Victims didn't even believe they had a place in the legal system. Defendants had all these rights. They had none. [Boxes containing pictures of victims continue to fade on and off screen. Images include a young white man, a young white woman, and an elderly white woman.]
Paul Charlton: Now we look at victims for who they are: real human beings, people who have suffered a loss, individuals who deserve our respect.
[The animated title Every Victim. Every Time. slides across the screen.]
Dr. Lorraine Chase: And every victim has a place that we should cherish.
Elderly white male: If I hear somebody walking fast behind me, I have to look. I was never that way before. I never gave it a thought. But I do now. [Images of an elderly couple in wheelchairs and of a young girl looking out of a window fade on and off screen.]
[Text appears on screen: The Right to Protection.]
White female: I was terrified of everyone and everything around me. I just felt everyone was, you know, like out to get me. Any stranger on the street, I- I couldn't go out by myself. [Images of victims that include a young white girl holding an officer's hand and a young African-American man in profile fade on and off screen.]
White male: I kind of wanted to know-Was he in jail? Where was he? What's going on with the guy? [Images of a man in a jail cell and a closeup of a man's hands gripping cell bars fade on and off screen.]
[Text moves on the screen: The Right To Be Informed.]
African-American/Caribbean female: What I wanted from the system was to be kept informed of what was going on from day one-to be a part of that process. [Image of an empty courtroom fades on and off screen.]
Elderly African-American male: What we are in the courtroom is a necessary nuisance! [Image of a woman crying fades on and off screen.]
[Text moves on screen: The Right To Attend.]
White female: I was adamant that I had to be at the sentencing because I didn't want my daughter to be there alone. [Images of a young girl in a courtroom and two women talking in an empty courtroom fade on and off screen.]
[Video of Paul Charlton appears on screen.]
Paul Charlton: If I were the victim of a crime, here's what I'd want from the system: I'd want the ability to be heard. I'd want the ability to be consulted. I'd want people to talk with me.
[Video of Dr. Lorraine Chase appears on screen.]
Lorraine Chase: If I don't know if I have any rights, why am I going to walk into a system that I don't think is going to protect me and I've already just been violated?
[Video of Paul Charlton appears on screen.]
Paul Charlton: We need to make sure that we're reaching out to those people, educating those people and including them in the system of justice. [Images of a counselor holding a victim's hand, a deaf woman using sign language, and a woman in a wheelchair with a baby on her lap fade on and off screen.]
Victim advocate, Latino male: Some victims feel abandoned. Victims who are- are asking for help, who need the help. [Images of victims in boxes move across the screen.]
White female: When a plea bargain came up, I didn't have any say about that, and I couldn't talk with the DA. [Image of an empty courtroom fades on and off screen.]
[Text moves across the screen: The Right To Confer.]
White female: It was an eye-opener. Because I never realized that criminals had more rights than their victims. [Image of a man in handcuffs fades on and off screen.]
Elderly white male: There are people who were put in very, very severe financial constraints because of the act of another person. The victim is left holding the economic baggage and the ruin and the total devastation. [Images of victims continue to appear and move across the screen in boxes.]
[Text moves across the screen: The Right to Restitution.]
White male: We wanted restitution in the amount of one dollar a week for the length of his sentence so that he would have to write her name down once a week. He would have to remember her. [Images of a hand signing a document, a smashed car windshield, and a white memorial cross fade on and off screen.]
Child, Latino female: Me, waiting for the trial, it took 2 years. They postponed it five times and I was getting ready. I was scared. [Images of a young girl in court and a young girl looking out of a window fade on and off screen.]
[Text moves across the screen: The Right to a Speedy Trial.]
White male: Sometimes they think that a person's lying because they can't see a person being . . . who's mentally retarded being . . . can be hurt. [Images of victims continue to move across the screen in boxes.]
[Text moves across screen: Treated With Fairness.]
Child, white female: I felt that it was all my fault, that I was doing something wrong and that's why I would get in trouble if I talked about it. [Image of a young girl sitting on a bed fades on and off screen.]
Elderly white male: If you are 18 or if you're 80, I think the impact on you is just as bad. [Images of an elderly woman and a young girl fade on and off screen.]
[Video of a section of the Victims' Rights Act fills the screen.]
Paul Charlton: Over the last 20 years federal law has evolved in the way that we look at victims of crimes. Victims now have a right to be heard and to be present at trial in a way that was never true before.
[Dr. Lorraine Chase appears on camera, and additional video of a section of the Victims' Rights Act appears.]
Dr. Lorraine Chase: The Crime Victims' Rights Act was the first act that came out that said victims should have the ability to do some of the things they need to feel involved within the criminal justice system.
Paul Charlton: The overarching significance, the most important aspect of this law, is that victims now have the ability to enforce those rights.
White male: This was the first time that I was able to-and had the right to-tell this man what he had done. [Images of a woman crying in court and a distraught teenage boy fade on and off screen.]
[Text moves across the screen: The Right To Be Heard.]
White female: I wanted my voice heard as well as his. I wanted the parole board to know what I had gone through and why he deserved to stay in jail.
American Indian female: It wasn't just me going through the pain, it affected my whole family. And I wanted to make sure that I spoke not just for myself, but for everyone. [Images of a cemetery and of an American Indian drum circle fade on and off screen.]
Victim advocate, white male: Victims are meaningful. They're more than just witnesses. They're more than just bit players. They're important participants in the criminal justice system. [Images of victims continue to move across the screen, including an image of two young boys holding candles.]
[Closing title animation begins.]
Paul Charlton: We need to seek justice, and the only way we can do that is by giving victims voice.
Dr. Lorraine Chase: Every victim, every time, is the way it should always be.
[The title animates on the screen: Victims' Rights: Every Victim. Every Time.]
[End of video.]