Medical  Whistleblower  Canary  Notes  Newsletter 8  Crime  Victim
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Medical Whistleblower Canary Notes Newsletter 8 Crime Victim

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Many states have legislation that addresses the rights of victim’s of crime. The broad range of psychological and social injuries that crime victims experience may persist long after the visible ...

Many states have legislation that addresses the rights of victim’s of crime. The broad range of psychological and social injuries that crime victims experience may persist long after the visible physical wounds have healed. Victimization by a crime is a life shattering experience leading to intense feelings of fear, anger, depression, isolation, low self esteem, helplessness and lost of trust in the basic processes of the social community. Crime victims have reason to question the basic assumptions that the world is a safe place to live, that people are good and decent, that the law enforcement will protect you and that the justice system will preserve your rights. Any survivor of prolonged and repeated trauma such as domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse or hate crimes will often suffer severe mental health problems. This is also true of repeated bullying in the playground or prolonged sexual harassment at the workplace. The emotional damage can be compounded by a lack of support and even stigmatization by friends, family, and social institutions, producing secondary trauma for victims. Those who are closest to the victim may also be vicariously traumatized by the crime, and thus be overwhelmed by their own anger, fear, and guilt that they are unable to provide emotional support and understanding. Those around the crime victim try to establish a distance between themselves and the crime victim which they see as damaged. Sometimes people will even see the victim as responsible for their own fate. This insensitivity by social workers, co-workers, acquaintances and even family will cause the crime victim to feel re-victimized. The lack of sensitivity in the criminal or justice process which puts the rights of the accused ahead of those of the victim, often traumatizes the victim again. The ability to seek justice is very important for crime victims as they seek to remake their lives and heal the deep wounds. Often an opportunity to tell their story helps them validate their loss and express their deep sense of loss. When victims are not allowed participation in the justice system and a voice in their own destiny, their feeling of trauma are intensified and prolonged.

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Medical  Whistleblower  Canary  Notes  Newsletter 8  Crime  Victim Medical Whistleblower Canary Notes Newsletter 8 Crime Victim Document Transcript

  • Medical Whistleblower August 2006 Volume 1 Issue 8 Medical Whistleblower’s Canary Notes Inside this issue: Washington State Crime 2 Crime Victim Rights Victim Rights Many states have legislation that addresses the rights of victim’s of crime. The broad range Recommendations for 3 of psychological and social injuries that crime victims experience may persist long after the mental health visible physical wounds have healed. Victimization by a crime is a life shattering experi- The Four Injuries 4 ence leading to intense feelings of fear, anger, depression, isolation, low self esteem, helpless- ness and lost of trust in the basic processes of the social community. Crime victims have rea- “As much as 10 to 20 percent of mental health son to question the basic assumptions that the care expenditures in the world is a safe place to live, that people are United States may be good and decent, that the law enforcement will attributable to crime, primarily to victims protect you and that the justice system will pre- treated as a result of their serve your rights. Any survivor of prolonged victimization. These and repeated trauma such as domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse or hate crimes will estimates do not include any treatment for often suffer severe mental health problems. This is also true of repeated bullying in the perpetrators of violence.” playground or prolonged sexual harassment at the workplace. The emotional damage can Victim Costs and be compounded by a lack of support and even stigmatization by friends, family, and social Consequences: institutions, producing secondary trauma for victims. Those who are closest to the victim A New Look, 1996 may also be vicariously traumatized by the crime, and thus be overwhelmed by their own anger, fear, and guilt that they are unable to provide emotional support and understanding. New Directions from the Field: Those around the crime victim try to establish a distance between themselves and the Victims’ Rights and Services for the 21st Century is a crime victim which they see as damaged. Sometimes people will even see the victim as comprehensive report and set of responsible for their own fate. This insensitivity by social workers, co-workers, acquaintan- recommendations on victims’ rights and services from and concerning ces and even family will cause the crime victim to feel re-victimized. The lack of sensitivity virtually every community involved in the criminal or justice process which puts the rights of the accused ahead of those of the with crime victims across the nation. victim, often traumatizes the victim again. The ability to seek justice is very important for August 1998 NCJ# 172811 OVC crime victims as they seek to remake their lives and heal the deep wounds. Often an op- Resource Center, Department F. portunity to tell their story helps them validate their loss and express their deep sense of Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849- 6000 800-627-6872, or query loss. When victims are not allowed participation in the justice system and a voice in their skncjrs@ncjrs.org own destiny, their feeling of trauma are intensified and prolonged.
  • Page 2 Medical Whistleblower’s Canary Notes Volume 1 Issue 8 Washington State Crime Victim’s Rights Information regarding Crime Victim Rights is usually available on the Official Website of the State Attorney General. Many States have specific Crime Victim Rights Legislation. One example is Washington State whose Crime Victim Rights are sited below. There shall be a reasonable effort made to ensure that victims, survivors of victims, and witnesses of crimes have the following rights, which apply to any criminal court and/or ju- venile court proceeding: With respect to victims of violent or sex crimes, to receive, at the time of reporting the crime to law enforcement officials, a written statement of the rights of crime victims as pro- vided in this chapter. The written statement shall include the name, address, and tele- phone number of a county or local crime victim/witness program, if such a crime vic- Mental Health tim/witness program exists in the county; of To be informed by local law enforcement agencies or the prosecuting attorney of the final Crime Victims disposition of the case in which the victim, survivor, or witness is involved; To be notified by the party who issued the subpoena that a court proceeding to which they have been subpoenaed will not occur as scheduled, in order to save the person an unnec- “Millions of Americans of all ages suffer from crime-related mental essary trip to court; health problems. Although there To receive protection from harm and threats of harm arising out of cooperation with law have been improvements in pro- viding effective mental health enforcement and prosecution efforts, and to be provided with information as to the level of counseling for victims, more protection available; needs to be done. Mental health professionals must join with vic- To be informed of the procedure to be followed to apply for and receive any witness fees tim assistance professionals to to which they are entitled; ensure that every crime victim has access to effective mental To be provided, whenever practical, a secure waiting area during court proceedings that health services at every stage of does not require them to be in close proximity to defendants and families or friends of de- the criminal justice system proc- ess.” fendants; To have any stolen or other personal property expeditiously returned by law enforcement Dean G. Kilpatrick, Professor of agencies or the superior court when no longer needed as evidence. Clinical Psychology and Director of the National Crime Victims When feasible, all such property, except weapons, currency, contraband, property subject Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South to evidentiary analysis, and property of which ownership is disputed, shall be photo- Carolina graphed and returned to the owner within ten days of being taken; To be provided with appropriate employer intercession services to ensure that employers of victims, survivors of victims, and witnesses of crime will cooperate with the criminal jus- tice process in order to minimize an employee's loss of pay and other benefits resulting National Organization for from court appearance; Victim Assistance NOVA To access to immediate medical assistance and not to be detained for an unreasonable Information and Referrals for length of time by a law enforcement agency before having such assistance administered. Victims of Crime and However, an employee of the law enforcement agency may, if necessary, accompany the Disaster: person to a medical facility to question the person about the criminal incident if the ques- tioning does not hinder the administration of medical assistance; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Call 1-800-TRY-NOVA (1-800-879-6682)
  • Medical Whistleblower’s Canary Notes Volume 1 Issue 8 Page 3 Washington State Crime Victims Rights con’t With respect to victims of violent and sex crimes, to have a crime victim advocate from a crime victim/witness program, or any other support person of the victim's choosing, pre- sent at any prosecutorial or defense interviews with the victim, and at any judicial pro- ceedings related to criminal acts committed against the victim. This subsection applies if practical and if the presence of the crime victim advocate or support person does not cause any unnecessary delay in the investigation or prosecution of the case. The role of the crime victim advocate is to provide emotional support to the crime victim; With respect to victims and survivors of victims, to be physically present in court during trial, or if subpoenaed to testify, to be scheduled as early as practical in the proceedings in order to be physically present during trial after testifying and not to be excluded solely because they have testified; With respect to victims and survivors of victims, to be informed by the prosecuting attorney VOCA 1984 of the date, time, and place of the trial and of the sentencing hearing for felony convictions Victims of Crime upon request by a victim or survivor; Act (VOCA) in 1984 had an important impact on improving mental health ser- To submit a victim impact statement or report to the court, with the assistance of the prose- vices for crime victims because state cuting attorney if requested, which shall be included in all presentence reports and perma- crime victim compensation programs nently included in the files and records accompanying the offender committed to the custody were required to provide payment for of a state agency or institution; mental health counseling in order to qualify for VOCA funding. With respect to victims and survivors of victims, to present a statement personally or by rep- National Center for Victims of Crime. resentation, at the sentencing hearing for felony convictions; 2000 M Street NW, Suite 480, Washing- ton, D.C. 20036 Phone: 202-467-8700 With respect to victims and survivors of victims, to entry of an order of restitution by the Fax: 202-467-8701. court in all felony cases, even when the offender is sentenced to confinement, unless ex- gethelp@ncvc.org traordinary circumstances exist which make restitution inappropriate in the court's judgment; www.ncvc.org With respect to victims and survivors of victims, to present a statement in person, via audio or videotape, in writing or by representation at any hearing conducted regarding an applica- tion for pardon or commutation of sentence. National Institute for Occupational Safety and For more information visit the Washington State Legislator web site: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/ Health 1-800-CDC-INFO Recommendations-Mental Health of Crime Victims (1-800-232-4636) Violent crime produces psychological as well as physical injuries. The challenge facing the Outside the U.S. 513-533-8328 mental health community is to: Email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov 1) Provide immediate and long term psychological treatment programs for victims of crime Website: www.cdc.gov and their families. 1-888-232-6348 TTY 2) Establish training programs that will enable practitioners to treat crime victims and their families. Information pertaining to the 3)Study the immediate and long-term psychological effects of criminal victimization. responsibilities of NIOSH are 4) Work with public agencies, victim compensation boards, and private insurers to make psychological treatment readily available to crime victims and their families. found in Section 22 of the 5) Maintain direct liaison with other victim service agencies. Occupational Safety and Health In addition, it is suggested that legislation be enacted to ensure that designated victim coun- seling is legally privileged and not subject to defense discovery or subpoena. President’s Act of 1970 Task Force on Victims of Crime, Final Report, Washington, D.C. U.S. Government Printing (29 CFR § 671). Office, December 1982.
  • Medical Whistleblower The information contained through the Medical Whistle- blower Canary Notes Newsletter is provided for general information only. The information provided by the Medial Dr. Janet Parker Whistleblower Canary Notes does not constitute legal or P.O. Box C professional advice nor is it conveyed or intended to be con- Lawrence, KS 66044 veyed in the course of any adviser-client discourse, but is Phone: 360-809-3058 intended to be general information with respect to common Fax: None issues. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal or E-mail: MedicalWhislteblower@gmail.com medical advice or opinion. It should not serve as a substitute for advice from an attorney, qualified medical professional, social worker, therapist or counselor familiar with the facts We are on the Web! of your specific situation. We encourage you in due diligence MedicalWhistleblower.googlepages.com to seek additional information and resources before making any decision. We make no warranty, express or implied, concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content of this newsletter due to the constantly changing nature of the legal Supporting the Emotional Health of All Whistleblowers and medical aspects of these issues . and their Friends, Supporters and Families. OSHA’s Safety and Health The Four Injuries Management Program Guide- lines on OSHA’s website at There are various types of injuries that a crime victim ww.osha.gov. P.O. Box 37535, may experience. They can be broken down into four Washington, DC 20013-7535; main categories: Fax: (202) 693-2498 Physical injuries involve damage to the victim’s body. Phone: (202) 693-1888 These injuries can be mild or severe. Not all physical injuries are visible as they may be covered by clothing (such as in a sexual assault) or may To file a complaint (800) 321- OSHA (6742). not be obvious such as injuries to the brain which may not be apparent to those not medi- cally trained to detect this kind of damage. It is important to not assume that a person is not injured just because you can’t see a visible injury. Long after the physical wounds may appear to be healed the victim may continue to experience pain or discomfort. Financial injuries may be caused by robbery or identity fraud or even damage to belong- ings due to the criminal actions. But there are many less obvious financial losses such as costs of psychological counseling, transportation to court, medical care, babysitting, and “I discovered long ago that loss of income. There may be damage to items that have to be repaired or replaced. among the most effective When a victim has very limited resources, these financial losses can cause real hardship. advocates I have seen are the Emotional injuries For many victims, witnesses and their family members, the emotional survivors, those who have injuries may be the most difficult and long-lasting effects of being the victim of a crime. Be- channeled their pain and ing the victim of a crime is a life shattering experience, often changing a person’s whole world view of their community, their safety, their right to protection by law enforcement and anger into activism to achieve their right to justice. The psychological trauma of being victimized is often very difficult to overcome. lasting reforms.” Social injuries these are caused when a victim is not treated with sensitivity. Anyone in contact with the victim can cause a social injury— family, friends, medical providers, police Attorney General Janet Reno officers, social workers, even therapists. Anyone who might not treat the victim with dig- nity, compassion and respect can cause secondary re-traumatization. For a victim the greatest wound of all is when those who are closest do not believe the victim and discount the victims’ pain and suffering or even blame the victim.