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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

Procedure/Participation Issues - The Role of the Victim

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National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

The role of crime victims in criminal cases has evolved throughout the history of the country, and it is changing again in many jurisdictions. At the time the country was founded, victims were most often full parties in criminal cases because the common law favored private prosecution for public offenses. This system persisted well into the 19th century; by the 20th century, however, it had been replaced by a system of public prosecution. In this system, victims were witnesses but had no independent role. The last 20 years have seen reform of the victim's role, and these changes have implications for cases involving DNA evidence.

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