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Victim and Witness Assistance - New State Laws and the System's Response

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 1983
The victim/witness movement has achieved considerable success in the State legislatures in recent years, but little attention has been paid to the operational implications inherent in such programs or to the substantial financial responsibilities imposed on the criminal justice system.

A total of 38 State legislatures have enacted measures to provide compensation to victims of crime. Others have enacted specific authority for courts to order criminal offenders to make restitution to their victims. Some States have enacted legislation granting victims access to income generated by offenders as a result of publicity about their crimes. States also are increasing the amount of witness fees, compensation paid to witnesses on a daily rate for each day they must appear in court. In addition, most States have enacted bills that seek to assist witnesses and victims in their dealings with the criminal justice system, such as victim and witness notification, providing counsel for victims, facilitating the participation and impact of victims in criminal proceedings, and increasing the use of depositions in lieu of court appearances. Seven footnotes and a list of publications are included.

Date Published: May 1, 1983