April 11, 2016
Carson City, NV – This week, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, reminding Nevadans of their rights and demonstrating his Office’s commitment to making our communities safer.
“National Crime Victims’ Rights Week underscores the devastating effects that crime has on the lives of so many,” said Laxalt. “My Office is committed to ensuring that survivors receive support from the criminal justice system, and will continue to educate and advocate for victims of crime.”
Every April, the Office for Victims of Crime leads communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year’s theme “Serving Victims, Building Trust, Restoring Hope” highlights the importance of early intervention and victim services in establishing trust with victims that fosters healing and recovery.
In 1983, the Nevada Legislature mandated certain rights and guarantees to crime victims and witnesses. Under Nevada’s Victims’ Bill of Rights, victims have the right to:
- Know the status of the case in which they are involved.
- Be free from intimidation or dissuasion.
- Know when their impounded property may be released.
- Receive a witness fee for lawful obedience to a subpoena.
- Understand the existing victim compensation laws and receive compensation if applicable.
- A secure waiting area, that is not available to the defendant or their family, while at court.
- Know when the defendant is released from custody before or during trial (upon written request).
- Know when the offender is released from prison (upon written request).
Last year, AG Laxalt and his Office drafted and supported a number of legislative measures to address challenges in the criminal justice system that pose as obstacles to crime victims. AG Laxalt shepherded a number of bills pertaining to human trafficking in Nevada, including AB 214 that provides enhanced penalties for “johns” who buy sex from minors, AB 193 that makes it easier for prosecutors to bring charges against offenders by allowing the use of hearsay in certain types of hearings, AB 49 that allows for the testimony of an expert in human trafficking cases to educate a jury about the prostitution subculture and manipulative tactics used to control victims, AB 107 that enhances trafficked victims’ abilities to clear their record, and AB 212 that amends the statute of limitations for the filing of a criminal charge for sexual assault from four years to 20 years after the commission of the offense.
In September 2015, AG Laxalt also pledged $3.68 million in grants and settlement monies toward eliminating the backlog of more than 7,500 untested rape kits throughout the state. He currently serves as the statewide chair of the Sexual Assault Kit Working Group tasked with finding creative solutions to address the backlog and ensuring that Nevada takes a more victim-centered approach to justice. Since the group’s formation, more than 1,200 untested rape kits have been sent out for testing with testing results anticipated for this summer.
Resources for Victims:
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week will be held April 10-16 in communities throughout the nation. In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Justice will begin the week’s events with their annual Office for Victims of Crime’s Service Awards Ceremony honoring outstanding individuals and programs that service victims of crime. In Nevada, victims of crime can look to the Nevada Victims of Crime Program for awareness materials and financial assistance, as well as other local non-profit organizations such as the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence, the Rape Crisis Center Las Vegas and Nevada Sexual Violence Prevention and Education through the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
Before the close of 2015, the state of Nevada also completed its implementation of its automated victim information and notification system known as the Victim Information and Notification Everyday or “VINE.” VINE gives victims of crime and concerned Nevadans access to the custody information of offenders held in jails, prisons and enrollees of parole or probation throughout the state. The system communicates with jail and prison booking systems in near real-time, allowing users to be immediately informed of an offender’s transfer, release or escape. VINE includes 48 states and more than 2,000 communities nationwide, and also serves the U.S. Department of Justice, including the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. To register or receive more information about VINE, visit https://www.vinelink.com/or call 1-88-2NV-VINE (1-888-268-8463). The service if free and anonymous.
In order to bring awareness to victims of crime, the Attorney General’s Office will be posting informational alerts on social media each day of this week. To receive the alerts, follow the Office on Twitter @NevadaAG and Facebook at Nevada Attorney General.