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CONTENTS of this NATIONAL VICTIMS RIGHTS section of the website:


National Offender Sentencing and Victims Rights Issues                         


Restorative Justice Information                                                               


Victims in Action Around the Nation


Parole Block help requests from victims around the Nation


National misc. news media on Victims Issues


bulletThe Franks Foundation gives helpful advice for parents at Halloween time how to avoid being victimized
bullet Help Preserve VOCA funding for victims services - Support the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus' legislation
bulletWitness Justice gathers all national victim groups in a call to the new Obama Administration to focus resources on the effects of Trauma, such as that experienced by crime victims after violence
bulletContact Witness Justice to sign on in support
bullet Joins  advisory board to United States Congressional Victims Rights Caucus and the National Leadership Council on Crime Victim Justice
bullet OVC offers wonderful free on-line training from inspirational victims Nov 5 2008
bullet Protect Our Children Act signed into law! - years of effort reaches its goal to keep our children from being victimized
bullet OVC offers free training and technical assistance for rural Sheriffs and Police Departments to provide Victim Services
bullet October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month - Resources are available for everyone interested
bullet The vote in November 2008 in California on Marsy's Law, a statewide victims rights ballot initiative, matters a great deal to victims everywhere - Join in the effort to support it!
bullet The 2008 Presidential Party Platforms for both parties should contain THIS language worked up by national victims rights experts. Read both platforms and see how they supported victims rights.
bullet Witness Justice offers training for victims - Journaling and Trauma
bulletSee a spreadsheet summarizing victims programs nationally complying with national professional standards
Support Illinois Congressman Rahm Emmanuel's bill for victims' jobs to be protected
when they have to take off work to attend court

bulletFor miscellaneous articles on issues surrounding prison sentences for criminals, click here.
bulletFor interesting stories making news all over the nation regarding victims issues, click here
bulletFor a resolution in support of the Virginia Tech Community, click here
bulletFor information on Restorative Justice, a process that invites offenders and the community to
focus on healing victims damaged by criminal acts, click here.

bulletFor efforts to block the parole and release of inmates in other states, click here.
bulletFor a moving presentation of stories of some of the many injured by guns in America, see Wounded In America


"What Every Parent Should Do Before Letting the Kids Go Trick-or-Treating"

(Richmond, Virginia - Wednesday, October 28, 2009) -
It takes just five
minutes and it might save your child's life.  Before letting your kids go trick-or
treating, the Franks Foundation ( is urging parents
to check their local sex offender registry for potential predators in the area.

"It is the RESPONSIBILITY of America's parents to take a look at their local
sex offender registry in order to better protect their children and the children in
their community," states Franks Foundation Executive Director Polly Franks,
adding,"This is especially relevant in the days prior to Halloween."

Franks also advises that children under the age of 12 not be allowed to go
trick-or-treating alone and recommends that kids 12 and older go out in
large groups with strict rules and a curfew.

"The abduction and murder of 7-year-old Somer Thompson should serve as
a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of our nation's children," said Franks.

The Franks Foundation also recommends that parents take a look at the
Family Watch Dog website at, a nationwide sex
offender registry.

For more information about the Franks Foundation and their Halloween
initiative, please call (804) 564-9196.


PROTECT VICTIMS FUNDS for Victim Services - AUGUST 2009

Representatives Ted Poe and Jim Costa, co-chairs of the Congressional Crime Victim Rights Caucus, introduced H.R. 3402, "The Crime Victims Fund Preservation Act of 2009", which is attached to this email  This is a companion bill with identical language, to S. 1340, introduced July 2009 by Sens. Patrick Leahy and Mike Crapo.

Under the proposal, the VOCA cap will be set at a minimum level that, beginning in 2011, will increase by 23 percent each year through 2014. In other words, the VOCA cap in 2014 would be at least $1.6 billion. This will draw down the growing amounts being kept in the Fund and use those funds for victim assistance services, as intended by VOCA. The amount retained in the Fund by the end of 2014 will be at least $800 million, enough to ensure the Fund's ongoing sustainability (this projection does not include any new or currently unknown large criminal fines that will be collected during this period and is therefore a very conservative estimate).

VOCA funds are NOT tax dollars - they are money taken from criminals in fines that courts and law set aside for uses for victims only. But the Federal Government controls access to those funds.
Contact Congress and your representatives at:



On November 5, 2008, at 2 p.m. (eastern time), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) presented a Web Forum discussion with Dan Levey and Debra Puglisi Sharp, R.N., on best practices for Empowering Victims to Triumph Over Tragedy. Mr. Levey is the Advisor for Victims to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and the President of the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, Inc. He has been an advocate for victims’ rights since 1996 when his brother Howard was murdered by gang members. As the governor’s Advisor for Victims, as in his previous role as Special Assistant on Victims' Issues to the Arizona Attorney General, Mr. Levey continues to work to change public policy concerning the treatment of crime victims and their families. Ms. Puglisi Sharp is an inspirational speaker and the author of Shattered: Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence. In 1998, Ms. Puglisi Sharp was abducted and held captive for 101 hours. During her captivity she was raped repeatedly by an intruder who fatally shot her husband in their home. She now serves on the board of directors of the National Coalition of Victims in Action and is a member of the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Visit the OVC Web Forum now to submit questions for Mr. Levey and Ms. Puglisi Sharp and return on November 5 at 2 p.m. (eastern time) for the live discussion. Learn how to participate beforehand so you are ready for the discussion. Joins Advisory Committee to United States Congressional Victims Rights Caucus

October 2008 Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, founder of has joined the Advisory Committee to the United States Congressional Victims Rights Caucus. The first meeting was November 18 in Washington DC. Contact Jennifer with suggestions for this advisory group.

November 2008 Jennifer attends the post-Presidential Election gathering of the National Leadership Council on Crime Victim Justice, lovingly called the "Old Buffaloes". There we brainstormed about what direction the national victim movement needed to take in the new Obama administration. Many good ideas about succession planning, policy hubs for the Office of Victims of Crime, protecting the VOCA fund, and working proactively on sentencing, restorative justice, victims rights, and other agenda items were discussed.

APRIL 2009 - Jennifer travels to Washington D.C. to advise the US Congressional Victims Rights Caucus about the national trends in prison sentencing and leads the national victims movement discussion in addressing what role victims rights should play in the latest trends. Her presentation will be open to the public Friday April 24, 2009 at a victims policy forum at on Capitol Hill. The Rayburn Office Building, 8:30 to 11 am.

Rural Areas, often unable to provide Victim Services, get a boost from the Feds

Through a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), our good friends at the National Sheriffs’ Association are offering free on-site training and technical assistance to rural Sheriffs’ Offices and Police Departments working to establish or enhance a Victim Services Program within their agencies. Some of the topics of the training and technical assistance include:

Maximizing the Use of Volunteers in Victim Services Programs;

Conducting Proper and Compassionate Death Notifications;

Marketing Law Enforcement Agency-Based Victim Services to Patrol Deputies/Officers, Victim Service Providers, County Commissioners/Other Funding Authorities, and Crime Victims;     

Providing Victim Services in Native American Communities;

Meeting the Needs of Immigrant Victims of Crime; and

Serving Young Crime Victims Better via a Child Advocacy Center. 

This free training and technical assistance is the culmination of a four-year demonstration project of OVC, NSA, and Justice Solutions. Training and technical assistance on implementing these promising practices/model programs is now being offered to other rural law enforcement agencies that are interested in replicating the victim services initiatives in their own agencies. For more information, contact Tim Woods at or 703-836-7827.


OCTOBER is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Appriss, provider of the VINE and SAVIN services for automated victim information and notification, has developed an excellent NDVAM Resource Kit for the field to help promote victim outreach and public awareness in October.  The Kit has great resources for media relations, a sample proclamation, and a detailed history of domestic violence advocacy in the U.S., along with really good resources for victim information and referral resources through toll-free telephone numbers and on-line.  You can download the Appriss 2008 NDVAM Resource Kit at:


MARSY'S LAW Will Help Victims Everywhere

Marsy’s Law – Prop 9 will establish a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights in the California constitution. Victims and survivors will be guaranteed rights in the investigation, bail, prosecution and parole processes. Victims will be protected from harassment by the criminals and their attorneys. Victims and survivors will be treated with respect and dignity in all phases of the criminal process. California was the first state to really get victims rights in their state Constitution in the 80's, and therefore was very limited - Restitution being the only real right guaranteed. With so few protections to make victims rights enforceable, the passage of this important revisions to state law will help raise standards for enforceability of victims rights all over the nation.

For more information visit


Victims Rights In Both Party Platforms in 2008

The Platforms of both parties are complete and BOTH mention victims rights. Here is the language the national victims rights movement leaders developed and submitted to both parties:


2008 Bipartisan Party Platform Language
for Victims of Crime

In recent decades, a movement has arisen to bring compassion and justice to people who had been dealt harshly by the criminals among us and then treated with indifference or worse by their agencies of government. The reforms fostered by the crime victims’ movement speak to the best that is within us, and to the diversity of our society. Victims of child abuse found their champions, and then a network of specialized agencies to bring their perpetrators to justice and their victims to comfort and safety. Champions of the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence followed suit, and all these groups made common cause with allies in criminal justice who began to welcome victim participation into their work. The victims’ movement is forever broadening, responding to the needs of victims of drunk driving, stalking, human trafficking, homicide, terrorism and mass violence, to name a few, while lodging an ever-deepening presence in the professions of social and health services, and calling forth the compassionate services uniquely rendered by America’s faith communities.

Their work is far from complete, and they look to their national leaders to sustain the movement for victim justice. There is no better starting point than the Federal government’s scheduled re-examination of how victims are being treated in its own justice agencies.

The Government Accountability Office will soon report on the effectiveness of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act in securing justice for crime victims in the Federal system. We call on the Federal government to use this report as a springboard to a wider review of the totality of how governments at all levels are meeting their duties to treat crime victims with fairness, dignity and respect under the “social contract,” the philosophy of what government owes its citizens under our constitutional system. That review must necessarily re-examine the merits of embedding victims' rights where they truly belong -- within our nation's Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.

Under that compact, we hold that basic notification and participation rights are due crime victims involved in the justice system of every American jurisdiction, as is the right to full restitution from convicted offenders. Congress and the next Administration should examine whether these hallmarks of justice, once the birthright of all Americans at our founding, are being observed across the land, and where gaps in the provision of basic victim justice are found, to devise and implement methods of redress from these wrongs.

We also hold that, just as procedural justice is due American crime victims, so too are skilled compassion and care required to tend to the spiritual, physical, emotional, social, and financial wounds that crime inflicts on its prey. While the duty to provide remedial care falls most heavily on crime victims, survivors and their loved ones, and on their communities and states, the Federal government has fostered major improvements in these networks of victim assistance, a role from which it has lately retreated. It is time for our national government to return to a position of leadership in the rehabilitation and restoration of those wounded by criminal acts.

To that end, we are fully committed to providing adequate resources for crime victim services by preserving the Crime Victims Fund, which for more than two decades has used criminal fines and penalties – rather than taxpayer dollars – to support thousands of programs that help millions of crime victims in their recovery. We are committed to ensuring that funding from the Crime Victims Fund for these programs through VOCA’s state victim assistance grants shall be no less than the amount they received in 2006. We are also fully committed to providing full funding for all Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and Family Violence Prevention and Services Act programs.

We also believe that, in its wider review of how to serve victims with greater respect and compassion, the government should look beyond the role of criminal and juvenile justice agencies, vital as they are, to all other sectors of government with responsibilities to prevent crime and reduce its harm on individuals, families, communities and our Nation as a whole. Agencies of physical and mental health, education, housing, emergency assistance, and faith community coordination, among many others, should cooperate in implementing holistic responses to identify and address crime victims’ needs, and in turn, the Federal government should establish an independent National Office for Victims of Crime with the same reach across all agencies of government as the current such office now enjoys, in a far-too-limited way, only within the U.S. Department of Justice.

Here is the link to the actual Democratic Party Platform and its one sentence summary of its support for victims rights:

Here is the link to the Republican Party platform with its more detailed statement on Victims Rights

The Republican Party's National Platform for the 2008 elections

Upcoming Journaling Training to be Presented by Mildred Muhammad

Friday, October 17, 2008  1:30-2:30 pm EST

Mildred Muhammad, Executive Director of After the Trauma and ex-wife of the infamous D.C. Sniper - John Allen Muhammad, will present a virtual training session on "Journaling - The Benefits." 

This session is designed to focus on the benefits of journaling as a form of healing arts. The training will encompass methods to help become more self aware through personal reflection and documentation.  Ms. Muhammad has recently published a book, A Survivor's Journal, and will showcase the unique journaling method she has developed for survivors of trauma.  The benefits of journaling and how it can aid in mental wellness and recovery will also be discussed.
Ms Muhammad's book can be purchased separately on her website:


Illinois' own Congressman Rahm Emmanuel is the lead sponsor on an important protection long overdue to victims of crime - that our jobs be kept safe if we have to take off work to go to court. Read the press release below and contact your Congressman to support this important bill.


Thursday, April 17, 2008                        Kathleen Connery, 202-226-7639

                                                  Sarah Feinberg and Nick Papas, 202-225-1400

Emanuel to Expand FMLA to Protect Victims of Violent Crime and Domestic Violence

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) introduced the Crime Victims Employment Leave Act which would extend the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to protect victims of violent crime and domestic violence. This legislation would protect victims of violent crimes and domestic violence and their families from being terminated or demoted by offering them time off for the required court proceedings.

“No victim of violent crime should have to choose between their job and medical attention.  No one should fear reprisal from their employer if they need to attend court proceedings,” said Emanuel. “National Crime Victims Rights Week reminds us of how important it is that we work to protect the most vulnerable.  And we should never punish victims and their families for the crimes committed against them.”

Arizona, Colorado and Maine have enacted laws to protect victims from being terminated, demoted or required to use their leave time for court proceedings. No such protections exist at the federal level.  For the first time, the Crime Victims Employment Leave Act will afford this protection to the entire nation. 

“When my brother Howard was murdered in Phoenix, Arizona I exercised my state constitutional right to be present at every court proceeding—to represent my family--between the two defendants I wound up using up all my vacation time and was written up with a letter of reprimand and threatened with termination after 3 unexcused absences. I would like to thank Rep. Rahm Emanuel for his leadership on this issue—no victim/survivor of crime should be left with choosing between the right they have to attend court proceedings and their employment” said Dan Levey, National President of Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc.

“Extending the benefits of the Family & Medical Leave Act to victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes is humane, compassionate, and long overdue,” said National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness.  “We thank Representative Rahm Emanuel for sponsoring the legislation, and urge the House to waste no time in passing it.  Providing unpaid, job-protected leave is critically important for those who are trying to protect themselves and their children.”

“Too often, victims are unable to exercise their right to attend criminal court proceedings because they are afraid they will lose their job,” noted Mary Lou Leary, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.   “We commend Congressman Emanuel for introducing legislation to make this right under the law a right in fact.”

Original cosponsors of the Crime Victims Employment Leave Act include U.S. Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Lynn Woosley (D-CA) and Gary Ackerman (D-NY).