MADD Victim Services – Victim Impact Statements & Victim Rights
We don’t talk about Victims’ Rights nearly enough.
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t fighting for them every day.
It is fitting Victim Rights are the next in our series to discuss, because it is Victims Rights Week. Each year we join together with partners across the nation to recognize the victims of crime and bring to light the need for victims’ rights. This year we honor the theme “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change” by fighting for and alongside victims of impaired driving to create a future with No More Victims.
The rights of victims are often overlooked in the process. Partially because victims don’t know what rights they have. That is where MADD comes in. As a voice for victims, we are able to help educate and empower them with the information they need.
Many of the rights of victims are simple. They have the right to be notified of basic information about the court proceedings, dates, and times. They have the right to be present if they wish (as long as they are not to be called as a witness). To be notified of parole hearings or any appeals.
They also have the right to a victim impact statement. But, that doesn’t mean that looks the same in every case. The right to present a Victim Impact Statement sometimes means that people are allowed to share their statements in the courtroom. Other times, it means the statement is submitted to the judge as part of a pre-sentence investigation but not presented in open court. Both, are allowing the victims’ voice to be heard, just in different ways. But, many times victims of crime don’t even know they have an option to submit the statement. MADD works with victims and survivors to help them understand their right to share, and what is important to include in the statement.
If you would like to learn more about the rights of victims in Nebraska, we encourage you to look at the comprehensive list here: https://nebraskacoalitionforvictimsofcrime.typepad.com/nebraska-coalition-for-vi/victims-bill-of-rights.html
If you want help understanding your rights, need assistance with an impact statement, or just need overall support in the aftermath of an impaired driving crash, MADD Advocates are here to help! You can reach the MADD Nebraska State Office at (402) 434-5330 or by emailing ne.[email protected]. For 24/7 Victim Assistance Call 1-877-MADD-HELP.