FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2005
TDD (202) 514-1888
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO R. GONZALES ANNOUNCES
STRENGTHENED VICTIM & WITNESS ASSISTANCE GUIDELINES
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has adopted the 2005 Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance, the Justice Department announced today. The revised guidelines will strengthen and expand the Department’s efforts on behalf of victims and witnesses of crime.
The guidelines announced today reflect the recent enactment of the Justice for All Act of 2004, which recodified and expanded crime victims’ rights under federal law. The revised guidelines also include new and specific guidance on assisting victims of terrorist attacks, human trafficking, identity theft and domestic violence.
“Among the Justice Department’s central missions are aiding the victims of federal crimes, protecting them from further harm and working with them in bringing criminal offenders to justice,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “The Department must strive tirelessly to minimize the inconveniences and frustration that the victims of crime suffer in its wake.”
Among the victims rights added or expanded in the revised guidelines, reflecting the Justice for All Act, are:
The right to be protected from the accused;
The right to be heard at any public proceeding involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused;
The right to confer with the attorney for the government.
Attorney General Gonzales immediately directed all affected components of the Department of Justice to implement the new guidelines and incorporate them into their training programs and their criteria for assessing the work of relevant personnel. He further said that with the new guidelines, the Department will be better suited than ever to aid the victims of crime.