The Prosecutor, March-April 2012, Volume 42, No. 2

Crime Victims’ Rights Week 2012

The 2012 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) Resource Guide is available at http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ ncvrw2012/index.html. It contains everything you need to host and promote NCVRW in your community, including posters, camera-ready artwork, web ads, and a Spanish version. NCVRW will be observed April 22-28, 2012; “Extending the Vision: Reaching Every Victim” is the theme. Please send us articles and captioned pictures on activities in your community.

Your suggestions needed
It was great to see old friends and meet new ones at our Annual Criminal & Civil Law Update in Corpus and our KP/VAC training in Houston. Thank you all for your contributions and enthusiasm! Our interactive sessions were terrific largely due to your willingness to share frustrations and solutions with your colleagues.
    We are in the midst of planning this year’s seminars and need your suggestions again. Let us know the topics that interest and inspire you. Many of you mentioned that you would appreciate hearing about a case study from a prosecutor and VAC on how they worked as a team from grand jury through post-adjudication. Please let me know if you would like to share your experience. You can also contact your regional board director: Chair: Cyndi Jahn, Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, [email protected]; Region 1: Laney Dickey, Lamb County & District Attorney’s Office, [email protected]; Region 2: Kara Welch, Midland County District Attorney’s Office, [email protected] .midland.tx.us; Region 3: Kathy Dixon, 33rd and 424th Judicial Districts’ Office, [email protected] burnetcountytexas.org; Region 4: Christine Segovia, Bee County Attorney’s Office, [email protected] .com; Region 5: Nancy Ghigna, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Nancy.Ghigna @mctx.org; Region 6: Jalayne Robinson, Wood County District Attorney’s Office, [email protected] .wood.tx.us; Region 7: Blanca Burciaga, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, beburciaga @tarrantcounty.com; Region 8: Jill McAfee, Bell County District Attorney’s Office, [email protected] .us.

Free technology and ­stalking resources
The Use of Technology to Stalk Online Course is a new resource produced by the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice. The purpose of this self-paced, interactive online training is to increase the ability of criminal justice professionals and victim service providers to recognize how stalkers use technology and, ultimately, enhance their ability to work with victims of stalking. The course begins with an introduction to the concept of stalking and then moves on to share how technology is used to stalk. Each technology module includes information on documenting evidence and investigation and considerations for victim safety. The course concludes with a discussion on how stalking affects victims and resources for additional information and assistance. Visit www .tech2stalk.com for more information and to register.
    The Use of Technology to Stalk training video and discussion guide is another free resource produced by the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime. This 15-minute video is designed to enhance awareness among professionals working with stalking victims and offenders of how stalkers use a vast array of technologies today. The video provides an overview of the most common forms of technology used by stalkers, victim testimony, and commentary from professionals on considerations for working with victims. The short format of the training video makes it ideal for situations in which time for training is short, such as law enforcement roll-call trainings or victim advocate training. To request a free copy, please visit the Stalking Resource Center website at www .ncvc.org/src.

Restitution toolkit
The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) has e-published the final two sections of its Restitution Toolkit (featured in a fall 2011 MMM). You can now download the complete Toolkit at www.ncvc.org/ ncvc/main.aspx?dbID=DB_MakingRestitutionReal171. I can’t tell you how many times, when I worked at the Attorney General’s Office, I answered a desperate call from crime victims trying to find out if they had been awarded restitution. Somehow the victim had gotten all the way through sentencing without hearing from the probation office or prosecutor that restitution had been ordered. NCVC has samples of brochures for victims about restitution that are especially useful and can be adapted for your office: www.ncvc.org/ncvc/ main.aspx?dbID=DB_ToolkitResources412#SelfHelp.

A Texas Victim Assistance Timeline, Part I
The Crime Victim Rights Week Guide published by the Office for Victims of Crime contains a timeline for national milestones in victim assistance. It is often helpful to review the history of victim rights especially when financial and legislative issues are at stake. It is always interesting to note that the issue transcends politics with early champions like the liberal Ralph Yarborough and the conservative Ronald Reagan. We are in the process of updating our timeline for Texas events. Your input is welcomed. Thank you to Barry Macha, former Criminal District Attorney in Wichita County, for his.
    1965    U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas introduces the first federal crime victims’ compensation bill in Congress (S.2155).
    1977    Harris County District Attorney Carol Vance establishes the first victims’ assistance program in a Texas prosecutor’s office. Suzanne McDaniel is the program director.
    1977    Texas becomes one of the first states to pass legislation requiring law enforcement to pay for forensic sexual assault exams.
    1979    The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Act establishes a fund to compensate victims of violent crime for their crime-related financial losses, to be administered by the Texas Industrial Accident Board.
    The Texas Legislature also passes HB 1075, the first bill to provide protection and temporary shelter in a family-oriented environment for victims of domestic violence and their families until the victims may be properly assisted through counseling, medical care, legal assistance, and other aid. The act requires the Texas Department of Human Resources to contract for services with a maximum of 12 centers that provide shelter and services to victims of family violence with a maximum contract payment of $50,000 a year for each center. The act also amends the Family Code by adding Title 4 (Protection of the Family) and Chapter 71 (Protective Orders).
    1980    The Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Program is established on January 1 with revenues collected from court costs. A total of 1,060 claims were filed the first year and only $417,000 paid in reimbursements. It becomes apparent to administrators that insufficient funds are available and a waiting list for awards is established on December 1.
    See the next issue for a continuation of the timeline!