Digest 101 - May 2017
VICTIMS’ RIGHTS DIGEST 101:
an anthology of global news & media affecting crime victims
INTERNATIONAL VICTIMS’ RIGHTS______________
Chechnya, Russia: Anti-Gay Crimes Complaint Lodged with United Nations
Human rights organizations have filed a complaint to the United Nations on the fate of at least 160 men who were confirmed to have been illegally detained, tortured and killed on grounds of their sexual orientation. The complaint seeks to hold Russia accountable for respecting its human rights obligations.
Democratic Republic of Congo: For First Time, ICC Awards Symbolic Individual Reparations
In the case against Germain Katanga, who was found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Bogoro, the International Criminal Court has awarded individual reparation measures to victims. The ICC called the award, $250 USD for each victim, symbolic, noting the amount “does not compensate the injuries suffered in their entirety, but is to alleviate the harm suffered by victims”.
Taking advantage of Dublin’s acute housing crisis, landlords are advertising sex-for-housing deals. Irish advocacy groups are calling such transactions still a form of prostitution that could be considered a form of sexual exploitation for which immigrants are particularly at risk.
Jordan: Jordan Repeals Law Setting Rapists Free if Married to Victims
Jordanian lawmarkers repealed Article 308, a law that allowed rapists to escape jail time if they marry their victims. Egypt, Iraq and Morocco have repealed similar laws and instead impose severe sanctions on rapists.
Kenya is considering amending its 2010 anti-trafficking law so that foreign victims of human trafficking found on Kenyan soil are not treated as criminals but given greater protection. In addition to trafficked Kenyans, more than 20,000 people are trafficked through Kenya each year from neighboring countries.
In Pakistan’s rural areas where the central authorities have little control, a system of male-only jirgas serve as local councils and courts. A female-only jirga has been formed recently to address domestic violence, inheritance, healthcare and other social issues, including child marriages.
Thailand has launched a center to protect the rights of people involved in criminal cases, including victims, witnesses, the public, and the accused. The center was established with the goal of defending fundamental rights and freedoms, promoting the values of human rights and reinforcing the principles of human dignity.
Untied Kingdom: Hundreds of Police in England and Wales Accused of Sexual Abuse
Watchdog groups are accusing Hundreds of police officers of sexually abusing victims and suspects. The victims are often targeted because of their vulnerability, including victims of domestic abuse, alcohol and drug addicts, sex workers and arrested suspects. Advocates are calling this the most serious corruption issue facing police service.
GENERAL VICTIMS’ RIGHTS ___________________________________________
Indiana University athletics has enacted a policy disqualifying its programs from adding any athlete with a history of sexual or domestic violence. The policy bans “any prospective student-athlete — whether a transfer student, incoming freshman or other status — who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence.”
VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ___________________________________________
California: Local Hospitals Work to Fight Human Trafficking
A Bakersfield hospital chain is training all of its staff to identify warning signs and red flags of human trafficking among patients with particular emphasis on emergency room and the labor and delivery units.
The Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 expands the definition of sexual abuse to include sex trafficking to make it easier for victims to get help and gives authorities the ability to more effectively prosecute sex traffickers.
Both chambers of the Washignton legislature overwhelming passed a bill that expands the use of criminal no-contact orders in cases of human trafficking. Current law allows courts to issue a no-contact order only when the victim lives or has lived with the trafficker.
VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, STALKING & SEXUAL ASSAULT ______________________
District of Columbia: DC Proposes Bill With Hope That More Sexual Assault Survivors Will Get Justice
An independent task force proposed legislation that would expand the rights of survivors of sexual violence. The Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2017 would add multiple provisions that help survivors preserve rape kits, require prosecutors to provide a reason to the victim about their decision not to prosecute a case, expand the right of a victim to have an advocate present during interviews with prosecutors and law enforcement, clarify compensation provisions, and expand the definition of of sexual assault crime include the removal of a person’s clothing without their consent.
House Bill 1071 is on the Governor’s desk after passing through the Indiana legislature. The bill would allow victimss of domestic violence to carry a gun without a license for two months.
The Iowa Governor signed a bill that increases penalties for domestic violence offenders. The bill would establish minimum prison sentences for those convicted three or more times of domestic violence and first-degree harassment, allow for GPS tracking of offenders, and make it a crime for abusers to use GPS devices to track their victims.
Lawmakers passed a bill giving people with long-term protective orders the ability to terminate a rental lease with 30 days notice to their landlord and make it illegal for landlords to evict any domestic violence victim with a protective order.
The Milwaukee Police Department is formally revising their officer-involved domestic violence policy to account for the power and leverage police officers can have over their victims and the low reporting rates. The new policy will treat domestic violence allegations as a form of employee misconduct and involve an internal affairs investigation.
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This Digest includes many of the news, cases and research links that come across NCVLI’s desk. This Digest is not intended to be a comprehensive collection of crime types or news items affecting crime victims, nor does NCVLI express any opinion regarding any of the stories contained herein. The Digest is merely designed to provide readers with a glimpse of victims’ issues being talked about and reported on across the country and around the world. NCVLI is grateful to the Lewis & Clark law students who research and compile the articles included in the Digest.
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