NVAA 2000 Text

Chapter 1 Supplement Scope of Crime/Historical Review of the Victims' Rights Discipline

Statistical Overview

Significant Legislation


Introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR 3) before the 106th Congress on January 19, 1999, the most recent version of the federal victims rights constitutional amendment gave victims of violent crime the right to notice in order to attend proceedings arising out of the crime; to speak or submit statements at public hearings in the case, including parole or other early release hearings; to notice if those convicted in their cases are released or escape; and to restitution.

In April 2000, the Federal Victims' Rights Constitutional Amendment (SJR 3) was addressed for the first time by the full U.S. Senate. On April 27, 2000, following two-and-a-half days of debate, SJR 3 was withdrawn for further consideration by its sponsors, Senators Kyl (R-AZ) and Feinstein (D-CA) when it became apparent that the measure would not receive a two-thirds majority vote for approval.


A key provision of the Violence Against Women Act allowing female victims to bring a civil action for damages against their attackers in federal court was narrowly struck down May 15, 2000, by the U.S. Supreme Court. The 5-4 ruling dismissed the case of Christy Brzonkala, a former Virginia Polytechnic Institute student, who was the first person to sue in federal court under the 1994 VAWA Act. The Court majority ruled that Congress, in enacting the civil remedies provision, had overstepped its authority to regulate interstate commerce and enforce the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution. In so doing, the justices rejected the argument that states are not doing enough to protect rape victims and that gender-based violence restricts women's choices in jobs and travel (<www.findlaw.com/casecode/

supreme.html>, 2000).

Chapter 1 Supplement References

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). July 1999. Criminal Victimization 1998: Changes 1997-98 with Trends 1993-98. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). August 1999. State Prison Expenditures, 1996. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 17 October 1999. Crime in the United States, Uniform Crime Reports, 1998. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.

National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ). September 1999. Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

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2000 NVAA Text
Chapter 1
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