Beginning in 1981, the US Department of Justice’ Office for Victims of Crime has designated a week each April as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to bring awareness to barriers that victims of crimes face when trying to seek justice. This year, Crime Victims’ Rights Week falls on April 18-24, 2021. A full list of crime definitions from arson to wrongful death can be found on the Office for Victims of Crime’s website.
What rights does a victim of a crime have?
Michigan extends victim rights to “an individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of a crime.” These rights include:
- Being treated with respect, fairness, and dignity
- Respecting the victim’s privacy
- Transparency regarding the case proceedings
- Being educated on the criminal justice process
- The ability to attend court proceedings, should they wish to do so
- Click here for a complete list of crime victims’ rights in Michigan
What barriers can victims face?
Crime victims can face a variety of barriers when seeking justice, including but not limited to:
- Being dependent on the perpetrator (especially if the perpetrator is a parent or caregiver)
- Fear of retaliation from the perpetrator
- Fear of loss of independence
- Believing they are to blame for what happened
- Lack of knowledge about what constitutes a crime/how to press charges
- Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
- The office publishes a Handbook to the Criminal Justice System of Washtenaw County
- Safehouse Center
- Michigan Advocacy Program