Victim Rights

USSC Primer on Crime Victims' Rights (2021)

Break the Cycle: Know Your Rights

Break the Cycle believes every young person has the right to a safe and healthy relationship, but not every state defines dating violence or dating abuse in the same way. As a result, not every state gives young people in dating relationships the same protections from abuse. Read below to learn your rights and download our advocacy toolkit written by and for young people to fight for your rights.

Department of the Interior Indian Affairs - Victim Assistance

The BIA Office of Justice Services established the victim services program specifically for victims located in Indian country. It was created in part due to unique challenges encountered when crimes occur in Indian country and to help fill the gap between the Federal and tribal court systems.

The BIA Victim Assistance Program offers direct services to victims including crisis intervention, referrals and information for mental and emotional health and other types of specialized responses, provide emergency services and transportation, and follow up for additional assistance. We can also facilitate an explanation of the investigative process, provide court accompaniment and support as needed.

Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime: Transforming Victim Services – Final Report

he goal for Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services (Vision 21) is simple yet profound: to permanently alter the way we treat victims of crime in America. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and many others who work in the victim assistance field recognize the need for a better way to respond to crime victims. We seek a comprehensive and systemic approach, drawing from a wide range of tangible yet difficult to access resources, including legislation, more flexible funding, research, and practice, to change how we meet victims’ needs and how we address those who perpetrate crime. We have heard the call for a better way, and it is our fervent hope that Vision 21 creates that path.

In many instances, rape or sexual assault committed by an Indian in Indian Country is a federal crime. In 2004, Congress passed the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771), also known as the CVRA. This landmark federal legislation secures eight, major rights to federal victims of crime:

The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or any release or escape of the perpetrator

The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at the proceeding

The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving the perpetrator’s release, plea, sentencing, or parole proceedings;

The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case

The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law

The right proceedings free from unreasonable delay

The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy

While the CVRA applies solely in federal jurisdictions, all states (and an increasing number of Tribes) have also adopted their own victims’ rights legislation. More than 100 Tribes have adopted some form of victims’ rights legislation. Some tribes have modeled victims’ rights codes after the federal and/or state statutes. Notification of hearings and the right to be heard during the sentencing phase are other common victims’ rights provisions in tribal codes.

American Indian/Alaskan Native women are citizens of their tribe, the state in which they live, and of the United States. Sexual assault victims may access state victim compensation funds for crimes reported to state, tribal, or federal law enforcement that are not prosecuted by the federal government. Federal victim compensation funds are available for crimes committed under federal law.

Victim Rights

Contact NICCSA

PO Box: 2100 E Speedway Blvd, Box 40805, Tucson, AZ 85719

Phone: (520) 623-8192
Fax: (520) 623-8246

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*NICCSA is a project of the Southwest Center for Law and Policy ( This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-SA-AX-K001, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.