Many jurisdictions grant victims of crime the right to protection during the criminal justice process. This right may take the form of a generally established right to protection, or it may include specific protective measures. Most jurisdictions have defined the crimes of intimidating victims or witnesses. Many stipulate that victims must be informed of available protection procedures.
In recent years, the federal government has worked with provinces and territories to implement many reforms to the law related to victims. In 1983, fundamental changes were made to the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to rape and indecent assault. 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 aims to help Canadians better understand and participate in the criminal justice system.
This concern can be compounded when people who come into contact with the criminal justice system are particularly vulnerable. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that describe the procedures for the return of personal property stolen or seized for evidentiary purposes in subsequent criminal proceedings. 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 the possible revictimization by the judicial system of complainants of sexual crimes.
State law establishes application and award procedures, as well as payment procedures, appeal procedures, and the confidentiality of information received. However, 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. Improving the experience of victims of crime in the criminal justice process is an ongoing priority for the Government of Canada. Recognizing that the needs of victims within the criminal justice system require greater consideration, 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 the judicial proceedings or of the arrest or release of the accused, they did not have the right to attend the trial 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 is provided as an overview of the rights of victims of crime, which vary in scope and strength in state, tribal, and federal criminal justice systems. For this reason, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-15, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, in March 2001, which defines the new crime of Internet attraction. If your state doesn't provide services to victims of environmental crimes, contact the law enforcement agency or the Department of Justice's victim and witness coordinator assigned to your case, who will try to help you find help.