Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the appointment of a statewide Crime Victims' Rights Advisory Committee. The committee will be chaired by Doug Beloof, Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute at Lewis and Clark College. Membership of the committee includes over 20 representatives from advocacy organizations, law enforcement, corrections and the courts.
"I have asked this committee to develop a coordinated plan so that within the Oregon criminal justice system, crime victims rights will be clearly and consistently understood by crime victims, and crime victims will have every opportunity to fully exercise their rights - every victim, every right, every case, every time," Myers said.
Under current Oregon law, victims of crime have many of the same rights enumerated in other states and in federal law. However, Oregon is one of only two states without a legal remedy for violations of victims' rights. In 2002, a Crime Victims Needs Assessment conducted by Portland State University found that as many as 59 percent of victims believed that Oregon's crime victims' rights laws were not enforced in their case.
Victims' rights in Oregon include the right to participate in many stages of the trial and sentencing of offenders, the right to notification upon release of the offender, the rights to restitution and crime victims' compensation, if eligible, and several other statutory and constitutional enactments.
"Enforcement of victims' rights in Oregon lags far, far behind the federal government and most other states," Beloof said. "Yet I believe we can make dramatic improvements through effecting planning and a renewed commitment to victims."
The three-year project is supported by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime and will be administered by the Oregon Department of Justice Crime Victims' Assistance program.
Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002