Victims of crime have the right to protection during the criminal justice process in many jurisdictions. This right may take the form of a generally established right or specific protective measures. Intimidating victims or witnesses is a crime in most jurisdictions, and victims must be informed of available protection procedures. In recent years, the federal government has worked with provinces and territories to implement reforms to the law related to victims.
The federal government is responsible for enacting criminal law, which is set out in the Criminal Code and is enforced throughout Canada. The PLEI program helps Canadians understand and participate in the criminal justice system. People who come into contact with the criminal justice system can be particularly vulnerable, so all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that describe procedures for returning personal property stolen or seized for evidentiary purposes. Thirty years ago, victims had few legal rights to be informed, present and heard in the criminal justice system.
The Law Commission report considers the impact of sexual abuse and possible revictimization by the judicial system of sexual crime complainants. State law establishes application and award procedures, as well as payment procedures, appeal procedures, and confidentiality of information received. Unfortunately, deficiencies in criminal justice systems can mean that victims cannot access the services they need and may even become victims of the criminal justice system itself. To address this issue, the Government of Canada has made improving victims' experience in the criminal justice process a priority.
The National Judicial Institute (NJI) has undertaken educational initiatives for the judiciary that address a variety of issues relevant to victims. Victims did not have to be notified of judicial proceedings or of the arrest or release of the accused, they did not have the right to attend trials or other proceedings, and they were not entitled to give evidence in court at the time of passing judgment or at other hearings. This information provides an overview of victims' rights in state, tribal, and federal criminal justice systems. To further protect victims' rights, Bill C-15 was introduced in March 2001, which defines Internet attraction as a new crime.
If your state doesn't provide services to victims of environmental crimes, contact the law enforcement agency or Department of Justice's victim and witness coordinator assigned to your case for help.