Concerns about the rights of crime victims are provoking legislative initiatives across the country, from Washington to New Jersey. In the latter state, a bill in the legislature is designed to raise the amounts of compensation crime victims can receive in awards. It also aims to make more types of crime victims eligible to access support services. Legislators are also considering proposals that could provide additional counseling and support services for crime victims.
Many victims of violent crime suffer severe effects for years to come after the initial incident. In addition to the physical and psychological trauma, people may face ongoing medical expenses and disabilities that prevent them from advancing at work or engaging in their hobbies. However, restitution awards from people responsible for the crime may do little to offset these effects. They may not have the funds to pay the judgment, and the later effects of their crimes may not be fully apparent at the time of the initial conviction.
In some instances, the crime could have been prevented if government officials had been more diligent in doing their jobs. For example, people on probation or parole can commit serious violent crimes that could have been avoided if officials had provided proper supervision under the law.
Criminal violence can have a devastating effect on people’s futures, and victims can suffer injuries that reduce their quality of life and ability to earn a living. A lawyer can work with victims of violent crime to pursue accountability in civil court from all of those responsible, including government agencies that failed to protect them.