One of the series of videotapes from the 'Crime File' public affairs program, this video on victims uses a panel interview and other interview segments in considering crime victims' needs and attitudes, victim compensation, victim impact statements, and measures for improving victim services.
James Q. Wilson, the moderator for the 'Crime File' series, comments on the relatively recent interest in crime victims' needs and services, followed by the profiling of one victim's needs, attitudes, and services received. Wanda Melton, the victim of a sniper attack, recounts the medical, financial, and emotional consequences of her victimization. In reviewing the services she received from the State, she notes that although she received compensation for medical services, she received no help in meeting living expenses during the time she was unable to work due to her injuries. The remainder of the video is devoted to the moderator's interview of a panel consisting of Lois Herrington, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; Marlene Young, Director, National Organization for Victim Assistance; and Norman Early, district attorney, Denver, Colo. Herrington, who served as chairperson of the President's Task Force on Victims' Rights, indicates that criminal justice personnel are generally ignorant of victims' rights and needs, since this is given little, if any, attention in their professional education and training. She also reviews what States are doing in the area of victim services. Federal efforts to help victims are also outlined. Marlene Young comments on why victim compensation programs fall short of dealing with the full range of victim financial needs, due largely to lack of victim awareness of compensation programs, limited victim eligibility for compensation, and restrictions on the expenses covered. Early speaks in favor of victim impact statements as providing important input for the sentencing decision; he also suggests ways in which prosecutors can more effectively involve victims in the processing of their cases. Overall, the panelists argue for more effective legislation and professional education oriented toward victim rights and services.
Date Published: January 1, 1984