The epidemic of child-victimization is a problem of national concern. When children are abused or victimized and the offense is reported to the authorities, both law enforcement and social services officials may respond to the report. In some cases, the reported violence eventually results in prosecution in criminal or juvenile delinquency courts, which means that child-victims may find themselves thrust into a myriad of unfamiliar justice systems and processes.
To better assist victims’ rights attorneys and advocates working with child-victims of crime, NCVLI publishes Bulletins that are intended to provide critical analysis on important topics relating to the rights of child-victims.
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Seeking Release Conditions and Protective Orders That Benefit Child-Victims
Nearly all defendants are released from custody at some point during the criminal justice process, and the prospect of release can be frightening for child-victims and their families. This Bulletin examines common release conditions and protective orders that may be sought by child-victims, which can help ensure the protection of child-victims and mitigate the trauma and fear associated with a defendant’s release.To read a PDF version of the Bulletin, click here.
Child-Victims’ Independent Participation in the Criminal Justice System
Nearly every state has a statute that establishes who may assert child-victims’ rights in criminal proceedings. These provisions can be categorized as either codifying procedures that enhance a child-victim’s ability to independently participate, or include language that may pose problems for child-victims who want to independently assert their rights. This Bulletin examines the structure of these statutes and provides tips to assist practitioners representing child-victims who wish to independently exercise their rights. To read a PDF version of the Bulletin, click here.
Confronting the Confrontation Clause: Finding the Use of Closed-Circuit Television to be “Necessary” Under Maryland v. Craig
This Bulletin provides an overview of the constitutional standard for allowing alternative means of testimony and examines how a variety of jurisdictions have analyzed the “necessity” prong of that standard, so that practitioners may be better positioned to seek protections for child-victims. To read a PDF version of this Bulletin, click here.
Child-Victims: Better Served By A Traditional Attorney Or By A Guardian Ad Litem?
This Bulletin analyzes the benefits and drawbacks of having lawyers functioning in the traditional attorney role versus lawyers acting as guardians ad litem (GALs) advocate for the rights of child-victims.To read a PDF version of this Bulletin, click here.
In addition to the state constitutional amendments and state and federal statutory schemes that provide crime victims – including child-victims – with general victims’ rights, special laws have been passed that provide protections tailored specifically to the needs of child-victims. Navigation of the legal systems involved in responding to crime against child-victims is incredibly complex, even for trained lawyers, and it is entirely unsurprising that child-victims struggle to comprehend and traverse the legal landscapes they face. Without effective legal representation, not only may child-victims be unable to enforce their rights, but they may not even be capable of gaining a meaningful understanding of them.
Children victimized by crime are one of the most vulnerable victim populations, and NCVLI is committed to improving the legal representation of child-victims. NCVLI’s goal is to ensure that all victims, including child-victims, have the opportunity to exercise their rights in the manner they choose. Under NCVLI’s Safeguarding Child-Victims’ Rights Initiative, NCVLI is taking the following steps to help protect the rights of child-victims:
Education & Training
In partnership with experts from across the child-victim services field, NCVLI is developing and implementing a two-day, skills-based, replicable curriculum for victims’ rights lawyers, advocates, and allied professionals on providing holistic legal services to child-victims.
NCVLI is creating and disseminating educational materials to victims’ rights lawyers and advocates nationwide that raise awareness of issues impacting child-victims.
NCVLI is publishing an electronic digest containing summaries of noteworthy cases involving child-victims’ rights and a selection of the many news items addressing issues related to child-victims of crime.
NCVLI is fostering a national dialogue online regarding best practices in serving child-victims and protecting their rights.
NCVLI is providing focused legal technical assistance in the form of legal research, writing, and strategic case analysis on civil and criminal cases concerning the rights of child-victims.
NCVLI is filing amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs to educate the judiciary on a variety of issues relating to child-victims.
NCVLI is providing a national perspective on policy and legal issues pertaining to child-victims and is working collaboratively with the larger community to ensure that the rights of child-victims are respected and enforced.
For more information on NCVLI’s Safeguarding Child-Victims’ Rights Initiative, please contact NCVLI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-768-6819.
This project is funded in part by Grant Nos. 2008-DD-BX-K001 and 2010-VF-GX-K004 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.