Victims' rights to be informed, present, and heard within the criminal justice system have expanded significantly over the last several decades. Every State, the District of Columbia, and several US territories have an extensive body of basic rights and protections for victims of crime within their statutory codes. The core rights include:
Victims and witnesses have a right to be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect.
Victims and witnesses have a right to protection from intimidation and harm.
Victims and witnesses have a right to be kept informed about various phases of their case, including investigation, prosecution, trial, and sentencing.
Victims have a right to provide information and input into the criminal justice process, especially at plea bargaining, sentencing, and parole release hearings.
Victims have a right to restitution as a condition of sentencing.
Victims have a right to the speedy return of their property used as evidence.
Victims have a right to notification from officials about the arrest, release of defendants, time and location of legal proceedings, time and location of trials, continuances or delays in trial proceedings, sentencing, and parole hearings.
Victims and their family members have a right to be informed of eligibility for financial support, including state crime funding and compensation.
Victims and their family members have the right to be assisted in completing application forms promptly, where applicable.