February 13th, 2018 by Attorney Dan Carman
A panel of crime victims working with Kentucky’s attorney general has delivered recommendations to improve treatment of those victimized by crime. The Survivors Council is made up of 25 people who are victims of a wide range of violent crimes. They worked on the suggestions for a year before formally announcing them in January.
Those recommendations include:
- The General Assembly should spend more money on criminal justice issues. This would include funding for law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates and victim services, with an emphasis on underserved communities and solutions to address crime and protect victims. The Council asks that there be a funded victim advocate in every prosecutor’s office in the state and crisis response teams to help victims immediately following a crime.
- The General Assembly should pass various bills and proposals, including creation of a Constitutional amendment for crime victims’ rights; changing the current law on child marriage; requiring employers to provide paid time off to crime victims to attend court hearings and counseling; addressing “revenge porn” and the unconsented sharing of photos and videos; and funding for long-term treatment of victims of sexual violence who suffer from sexually transmitted diseases.
- The Cabinet for Health and Human Services is asked to clarify or eliminate the term “unsubstantiated” as it is used by social workers when investigating the possible abuse of minors. The Council states the term is used when abuse is not found, when a child is too young to make a statement or wasn’t found to have physical injuries. The Council claims that in many cases where allegations were “unsubstantiated,” abuse actually occurred but wasn’t prosecuted.
- Kentucky’s schools are asked to perform more training for children and staff on the definition of rape, sexual violence and consent. They’re asked to give students information about their rights if they are victimized and related information to parents so they may more effectively help their child.
- The media is asked to avoid sensationalizing mass shooting or providing undue publicity to the alleged shooter. The media is asked to focus on the victims instead, not “swarm” around those at the site, and to allow victims as much control over interviews as possible.
The Council’s recommendations are just suggestions, and government bodies aren’t required to follow them.
There’s too much crime in Kentucky, and the Council brings up many important issues which should be addressed, with the understanding that those accused of committing crimes have constitutional rights; the burden is on the prosecution to prove its case; and often those accused of committing a crime didn’t actually perpetrate it. Many of those who commit crimes have been victimized by crime in the past, so it can become a vicious cycle for many people.
If you’re under investigation or have been accused of a crime and have questions about how the law might apply to your situation, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Carman Law Firm, based in Lexington, Kentucky. As criminal defense attorneys with years of experience, we offer thorough, skilled representation. Call today at (859) 838-1415 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.