Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-14-2021


The victims' movement in the United States occurred due to the development of victimology, the introduction of state victim compensation programs, the rise of the women's movement, and the rise of crime that was accompanied by a parallel dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system. The interest in victimology was due to the increasing concern about crime in America in the late 1960s. Research by Frank Cannavale found that the largest cause of prosecution failure was due to a lack of cooperation among victims-witnesses who stopped helping the justice system because it was indifferent to their most basic needs (Young & Stein, 2004). Research had recently shown that the main reason for unsuccessful prosecutions was that witnesses and victims of crime were not being treated well by the criminal justice system (Lee, 2019). This became a significant factor for why and how victims assistance programs were developed. Early programs assisted in victim compensation, federal Supplemental Security Income, assistance in court proceedings and restitution, resources to social services, transportation, and translation for Spanish-speaking clients (Lee, 2019). It led to establishing a wide variety of services, specializations, and considerations Victim advocate programs offer services such as crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy, medical services, support during criminal investigations, support during prosecution, support after case disposition, help victims understand their rights, crime prevention, public education, and training of allied professions. Although, focus for victim and witness advocate programs is primarily domestic violence and sexual assault cases against women, programs began to expand and acknowledge other victims of crime to like elderly victim, victims of homicides, victims of theft, and children. By the end of the 1980s, more than 8,000 victim service programs were in operation (Young & Stein, 2004). The objective of this study is to determine if victim-witnesses of crimes are more likely to continue with and participate in the prosecution of their offender if they use victim witness advocate services and to determine if victim-witness advocate services are beneficial.


CRIM 461

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