Victims often feel violated or scared after an incident, so ensuring that there are rights that protect them is crucial in getting their cooperation throughout the case. Victims’ rights serve as a means to take control back when victims feel taken advantage of, empowering and healing them at the same time.
Katherine Manning is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to explain Victims’ Rights. Katherine is the President of Blackbird LLC, which provides training and consultation on issues of trauma and victimization. She’s worked with the Department of Justice as a Senior Attorney Advisor at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys in various cases and worked on the implementation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) and the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act (VRRA). She also worked as a counselor and advocate for battered women.
Points discussed in this course are:
- Victims’ rights statutes at the federal and state level and other legislations that enhance victims’ rights.
- Identifying victims based on the harm suffered, the cause of harm, and restrictions that may prevent being entitled to rights.
- The responding law enforcement officer’s responsibility to identify victims of crimes and collect pertinent information from the victim.
- The most critical aspect of victims’ rights – protection and freedom from intimidation, harassment, or abuse throughout the criminal justice process.
- Ensuring victim-witness security by proactively and continuously assessing for potential risk and threats, communicating concerns with all involved, and never over-promising or leading victims to a false sense of security.
- Resources to connect victims with to enhance their security.
- The different kinds of notifications victims are entitled to during the investigation.
- Notice of rights to ensure that they are aware of the protections afforded to them.
- Notice of status of the investigation to ensure that they’re updated with case developments.
- Entitled to point of contact that will provide victims with guidance on procedures and explain concepts throughout the process.
- The different means notifications are provided to the victims to get them access to the information they want.
- Law enforcement’s obligation to provide referrals to the different agencies and services that the victim can access to assist them with the aftermath of the crime committed.
- Return of Property: Why this is the most frustrating aspect for victims and the rights provided to ensure that any form of property held as evidence for the case is returned in the soonest possible time.
- Victims’ rights to restitution – the types of losses that are compensable, ensuring that victims preserve evidence/receipts, and managing victims’ expectations on how restitution will be settled.
- Keeping an eye on the suspect/defendant’s assets that may be used as the source of financial reward used in restitution.
- Right to privacy and dignity such that any identifying details are kept from the public, and ensuring victims know about case developments before the media and the public does.
The session’s attendees had questions on:
- Resources to train law enforcement on empathy and a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach.
- How law enforcement can assure victims that questions being asked are not meant to judge or question the victims’ actions but to understand what transpired.
- Asserting the rights of victims who are missing, murdered, or incapacitated.
- Balancing a victim’s privacy and requirements from agencies to process or assist with the case.
Appeals process if an individual is deemed ineligible for victims’ rights.
Other Webinars with this Presenter
- Victim Rights in a Post Epstein World
- Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights
- Dec 3: Victim Rights: What Law Enforcement Officers Need to Know (this webinar)
- April 21: The Empathetic Workplace: Five Steps to a Compassionate, Calm, and Confident Response to Trauma on the Job
Resources and Handouts
- The Empathetic Workplace: 5 Steps to a Compassionate, Calm and Confident Response to Trauma on the Job by Katharine Manning
- Know My Name by Chanel Miller
- RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network
- Documentary: The Hunting Ground (Amazon Prime)
- National Crime Victim Law Institute
- “I am a Domestic Violence Advocate of 7 years. I think that every law enforcement officer should be mandated to take this webinar, and this training should be implemented as part of their training. We need law enforcement to be more trauma-informed. Excellent Information.” — Aimee
- “This was an amazing webinar! It was so informative. I am a general crimes victim advocate and it is SO important in my line of work to know Victim Rights so I really appreciate the in depth and detailed descriptions of the rights victims have. This webinar was easy to follow and gave information in a way that was very comprehensive and informative.” — Amanda
- “Learned so much Katherine! Thank you for a well-informed presentation.” — Barbara
- “The resource websites provided will be the most useful information for me in the future.” — Cameron
- “I am a retired Deputy Sheriff and current Victim Advocate. This information is very valuable for the Beat Officer to be aware of. As a retired cop, I would strongly recommend that if the Deputies/Officers have any questions about Victim Rights, and why it is important to know them, they cultivate a relationship with their local Victim Advocate Unit. I think they would be better Public Servants for the exposure. I am looking forward to Ms. Manning’s next class. Thanks again.” — David
- “All of the information was valuable as I do not have much previous training. Katherine is a terrific presenter.” — Denise
- “Very good presenter with experience and knowledge while providing material in an easy to understand manner.” — Floyd
- “It was a good overview of victims rights. Most of the information and material I already knew. I have been a Victim Advocate for 15 years. There is a huge need for Law Enforcement officers to have a training like this. Thank you.” — Hollie
- “I liked how she organized it. I teach victim rights in my state so I always like to see how people present on it.” — Kirsten
This webinar was pre-approved for 1.5 CEU credits by the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)® and the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP). Founded in 1975, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing. To learn more about NOVA, visit trynova.org.