Justice for Victims: Beyond the Special Victims Unit
A college student is raped at a frat party. A woman is abused by her husband for years; three months after she’s left him, he murders her in front of their children. A man is robbed at gunpoint. A family’s home is invaded and their possessions are ransacked and stolen. In the best scenario, all of these incidents are reported to police and the State takes over to find, arrest and try the offenders before a court of law. Victims are called by prosecutors as witnesses during the trial. The jury returns a verdict; the State is either satisfied or files an appeal. Often, once the crime is reported to police, the only role victims play in the prosecution of the individuals who have turned their lives upside-down is as witnesses. Is this enough to garner faith that our justice system serves victims? Through this survey course of victims’ rights, students will gain an understanding of how victims experience, participate in, and venture beyond the criminal justice system. This area of law is important to anyone who becomes a prosecutor, a criminal defense attorney, or a civil tort litigator.