It took decades for victims to fight for their rights and have their voices heard. Victims aren’t always aware of their rights and now that they’re in place, it would be a disservice to not ensure victims are educated about and exercise these rights.
Joining Justice Clearinghouse as this session’s instructor is Katharine Manning. She is the President of Blackbird LLC, which provides training and consultation on issues of trauma and victimization. With 25 years working with victims in various roles from being a hotline counselor to serving the Department of Justice as a Senior Attorney Advisor at the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. Victims and cases she’s involved in include sexual assault, child exploitation, and crimes in Indian Country. She also contributed to the implementation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) and the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act (VRRA).
Points discussed in this session are:
- The statutes that cover and touch on victim rights at the federal and state level.
- Constitutional rights’ precedence over statutory rights.
- Defining what a victim is and determining who fits its legal term by looking at the harm suffered, the cause of the harm, and reasons why a person would not be entitled to rights.
- Who asserts victims’ rights when the victim is a minor, incapacitated, or deceased.
- A victim’s right to notice of proceedings
- Its purpose to keep victims informed with what’s happening with the case.
- The means of notification.
- Tips for law enforcement to get good contact information to ensure this right is realized.
- The right to attendance
- The distinction when it comes to the types of proceedings victims are allowed to be present in.
- The concept of rule on witnesses which prohibits a witness from being part of the proceedings to ensure that their testimony will remain independent and unaltered.
- Victims’ right to be heard
- How the Supreme Court ruled that statements from the victims are valuable information.
- The specific proceedings where this apply.
- The importance of planning to ensure that all victims exercise this right.
- The victim’s right to confer
- The prosecutor’s obligation to reach out so the victims can provide their insights on the case, particularly for plea agreements.
- Guidelines for prosecutors meeting with victims in relation to discovery obligations.
- A victim’s right to restitution
- Ensuring that the victim is compensated for out-of-pocket losses.
- The specific types of losses that may be recovered in restitution.
- Guidelines on identifying and securing defendants’ assets for this purpose.
- How others who do not fit the legal definition of a victim may qualify for restitution.
- The right to protection and privacy.
- How these two rights go hand-in-hand such that it requires the privacy of the victims’ identifying and personal information to protect them.
- The types of scenarios where victims may assert their right to privacy.
- Providing victims with protection from harassment and threats through a safety plan.
- Enforcing victims’ rights either through victim standing or filing a complaint.
- An overview of the facts of the Epstein case, the question determining when victims’ rights attach, and the varying positions of the DOJ, District Court, and Court of Appeal.
Audience questions were on:
- Resources for victims to know more about their rights.
- Keeping victim information private from the incarcerated offender.
- Ensuring contact and notifications with homeless victims and migrants workers.
This is the first of a two-part series.
- Wed, May 6 at 1p ET: Victim Rights in a Post Epstein World (this webinar)
- Thurs, July 16, 1p ET: Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights
Resources and Handouts
- “Great presentation! Kate is knowledgeable, clear, and concise!” — Adriana
- “It was a great overview of Victim’s rights, to give the most services from the beginning and assist them throughout the life of the case and beyond should the case be sentenced to CDCR. Empowerment is the key for Victims to seek justice and to be heard is powerful. Katherine Manning was expectational and I hope to attend more webinars. Thank you!” — Belinda
- “All good information. I work with juveniles, so always looking for more specifics about youth victims or offenders. Great presenter!” — Carrie
- “The webinar was very informational and Kate was very engaging. I appreciated the manner in which she described victim’s rights and the variations in states. I also appreciated the information on Epstein and the impact on victim’s rights. Nicely done!” — Connie
- “A great refresher. I could have listened to her for another hour !! Thank you.” — Denise
- “This presenter was phenomenal and provided valuable information. It was concise and provided a great overview of victim’s rights which is often a topic that can be confusing.” — Erin
- “As an investigator for a college, I was able to get ideas for policy also. Thank you!” — Heather
- “Katharine is so knowledgeable about this topic and is passionate about her work and commitment to this cause. Learning about the rights of the victim especially when the trial begins was an interest to me. Thank you, Katharine.” — Marti