News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

April 22-28 is Crime Victims’ Rights Week: U.S. Attorney Says Victim Assistance is at the Heart of all Prosecutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS –U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones today announced that this week is National
Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The theme of this year’s observance, “Extending the Vision,
Reaching Every Victim,” calls on us to expand the vision that inspired the movement and
celebrate the progress that has been achieved to date. The theme captures the spirit and resolve
needed to realize our goal of assisting each victim in need of help and hope.

“We federal prosecutors and civil litigators routinely stand before the Court and proudly
announce that they represent the interests of the United States,” Jones explained. “But just as
proudly, we support citizens who have been victimized by those who knowingly and willingly
violate federal law. Whether victims are youngsters exploited through child pornography or
senior citizens subjected to mortgage fraud schemes, we will aid them in their quest to become
whole again--emotionally as well as financially.”

Awareness of federal crime victims and the issues they face was greatly heightened in 2004,
with the enactment of the Crime Victims’ Right Act (“CVRA”). That act grants federal crime
victims certain enforceable rights during criminal proceedings, including the right to be heard in
court and the right to receive full and timely restitution as provided by law. Crime victims also
have the right to be notified of pertinent court events, such as indictment, trial, and sentencing. In
Fiscal Year 2010, U.S. Attorney Offices nationwide collectively notified federal crime victims of
nearly eight million case events. In the District of Minnesota alone, approximately 212,099 such
notices were provided.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Minnesota has a dedicated Victim-Witness
team. In addition to ensuring compliance with victims’ rights, as set forth in federal statute, team
members accompany crime victims to court, make referrals for counseling, and assist in
accessing victim compensation funds. Nationally, in Fiscal Year 2010, an estimated 19,000 federal crime victims were accompanied to court and more than 23,000 were referred for victim
services.

Another way in which U.S. Attorney’s offices assist federal crime victims is by recovering
the monetary losses incurred by them during the related crime. This is particularly important in
cases involving financial fraud, when victims often lose their retirement funds or their children’s
college money to a smooth-talking crook. Of course, the government cannot guarantee all losses
will be restored, but in Fiscal Year 2011, U.S. Attorney offices nationwide, through their
Financial Litigation Units, collected a total of $6.5 billion in federal restitution for crime victims.
During that time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Minnesota collected approximately
$8.9 million for individual victims, while more than $700,000 was recovered for federal agencies
who had been victimized by criminal activity.

Finally, the federal government assists victims of violent crime by paying for related
expenses, such as lost wages, counseling, and medical costs. Moreover, that assistance is not
provided by tax dollars. Rather, the funds come from the federal Crime Victims Fund, which is
supported through the collection of criminal fines and penalties.

For more information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, visit
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2012/index.html.

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