The New Jersey Victims’ Bill of Rights
Many people might be hesitant to come forward as victims of crime, especially highly personal crimes such as sex abuse or sexual assault. After enduring such abuse or assault, the last thing you might want to do is go through the criminal process and relive what happened over and over. However, seeking justice is important for many reasons, including preventing the offender from hurting others, as well as victims receiving the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses.
New Jersey lawmakers recognized the importance of protecting the interests of sexual assault victims, so victims are more likely to come forward and reporting a criminal act. The legislature passed the new “Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights” in 2019, which sets out many rights for such victims while they are taking part in the criminal justice process. The following are brief descriptions of these important rights that are so important to victims of sex crimes.
To be taken seriously – Victims deserve to have all reported allegations treated seriously by officials, who should always treat victims with compassion and dignity. Officials should inform victims of resources, including counseling, medical or mental health services, and more.
To be free from certain suggestions – Things victims should never hear include that they are somehow responsible for the crimes they suffered, that they assumed the risk of assault or contributed to their victimhood, that they must report the crime to law enforcement to have victim’s rights, or that they should not report crimes to prevent public attention.
Access to resources – Victims should have access to the help of a sexual assault response team at no cost to them. This can include a forensic nurse examiner who specializes in sexual assault cases, a rape care advocate, and the assistance of law enforcement officers. Victims are able to opt-in or out of any of these services at any time.
Right to confidential testing – Victims should have access to confidential and anonymous testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), or related viruses.
Rights related to investigations – Law enforcement officers should retain any medical evidence for at least five years after a reported sexual assault. In addition, victims have the choice of whether they want to participate in or assist with investigations by law enforcement officers.
Victims’ services – Victims should be able to receive services and assistance in their fluent language or with assistive devices when needed by disabled victims. Such services include specialized mental health services, protections from future assault, services by the Victims Crime Compensation Office (VCCO), and any other governmental or community services that are appropriate in a situation.
Protective orders – All sexual assault victims should be fully informed on how to seek a temporary or permanent protective order as provided for in the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015. Protective orders should be available if the victim fears a subsequent sexual assault or other harm by the assailant.
Contact a New Jersey Sexual Assault Victims Attorney Right Away
The Leonard Legal Group believes that all authorities in New Jersey should abide by the Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights. If you need assistance from a New Jersey sexual assault victims lawyer, call 973-984-1414 or contact us online today. We are here to help you.