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This year, April 7-13 is National Crime Victims Rights Week. Since 1981, the Office for Victims of Crime has celebrated National Crime Victims Rights Week annually to bring awareness to the effect of victimization on individuals, families, and the communities, as well as to promote programs and laws that help victims of crime.

In Oklahoma, crime victims have the right to:

  1. Request criminal charges be pressed against your assailant;
  2. Be notified of the status of the investigation and prosecution of a criminal case;
  3. Request protection from any harm arising from your cooperation with law enforcement;
  4. Be informed of social services and financial assistance available to victims of crime;
  5. Be informed of the process for applying for restitution and witness fees;
  6. Be provided, if possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings;
  7. Have stolen property returned by law enforcement when it is no longer needed for evidentiary purposes;
  8. Be informed of any plea bargain negotiations between your assailant and prosecutors;
  9. Be informed if your assailant’s sentence is overturned or appealed;
  10. Give a victim impact statement and have it filed with the judgment and sentence;
  11. Have a speedy disposition of your assailant’s criminal charges, free from unwarranted delay;
  12. Have a Lethality Assessment completed by law enforcement (for victims of domestic abuse);
  13. File a petition for a protective order (for victims of domestic abuse); and
  14. Have a free forensic medical examination (for victims of rape or forcible sodomy).

The theme for this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.” This aims to celebrate progress and improvements in crime victims’ rights. Since the 1984 Victims of Crime Act, there have been enormous changes to a victim’s rights in a criminal case. Now, family members are allowed in the courtroom, there’s been a general shift to presuming the victim is telling the truth, and technology increases victims’ access to information and quality care, among many others. Improvements have been made both in the number of resources available and the growing utilization of the victim-centered approach.

One improvement is the recognition that responding to crime victims requires participation across the board, including medical providers, law enforcement, and victims’ advocates. Collaboration of these entities provides crime victims a more complete path to healing and increases victims’ awareness of the resources available to them. The 2019 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week celebrates hope for continued healing in the future, in part through this collaboration.

Join fellow Oklahomans for the Oklahoma Crime Victims’ Rights Day Ceremony at the Oklahoma Judicial Center on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. This ceremony will honor past victims of crime  and celebrate improvements in victims’ rights across Oklahoma.

If you are a victim of a crime, it is important to remember you’re not alone. There are service providers across the state who are available to help with the mental, physical, and financial impacts of victimization. If you are a victim of crime in need of civil legal assistance, contact Koller Law for a free consultation.