Little makes people more angry at the criminal justice system than the notion that accused criminals seem to have more rights than crime victims. "If the criminal justice systems of the world were private companies, they would all go out of business, because half of their main customers--that is, the victims of crime--are dissatisfied with their services," said Jan Van Dijk, Principal Officer of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention.
According to the National Organization for Victim Assistance, most states in the U.S. do indicate the need and intent to protect Crime Victims' Rights in their statutes or constitutions. Common victims' rights include:
- The right to protection from intimidation and harm.
- The right to be informed concerning the criminal justice process.
- The right to reparations.
- The right to preservation of property and employment.
- The right to due process in criminal court proceedings.
- The right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
- The right to counsel.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a crime, seek groups and agencies to provide assistance and to protect your rights. In the U.S., the National Crime Victim Law Institute provides a Victim Resource Map to get started.
Remember that crime statistics aren't just numbers. They represent people.