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A survey conducted annually by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, that provides data on households that report they were affected by crime


"Any individual against whom an offense has been committed," or for certain procedural purposes, "a parent or legal guardian if the victim is below the age of 18 yrs. or incompetent" or "one or more family members or relatives designated by the court if the victim is deceased or incapacitated."

Golden Age of the Victim

A historical epoch during which victims had well-recognized rights, including a personal say in imposing punishments on apprehended offenders

Postcrime victimization

Problems for the victim that follows from an initial victimization, such as loss of employment, inability to pay medical bills, and insensitivity of family members; also called secondary victimization

Victim/witness-assistance program

A service organization that works to provide comfort and assistance to victims of crime to witnesses

Victims' rights

The fundamental right of victims to be equitably represented thru-out the criminal justice process

Right of Allocution

A statutory provision permitting crime victims to speak at the sentencing of convicted offenders; a federal right of allocution was established for victims of federal violent and sex crimes under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994

"Son of Sam" Law

A statute that provides support for the rights of victims by denying convicted offenders the opportunity to further capitalize on their crimes; "Son of Sam" Laws set the stage for civil action against infamous offenders who might otherwise profit from the sale of their story; also called notoriety-for-profit law

Victim-impact statement

The in-court use of victim or survivor-supplied information by sentencing authorities who want to make an informed sentencing decision; also, a written document that describes the losses, suffering, and trauma experienced by the crime victim or by the victim's survivors; in jurisdictions in which victim-impact statements are used, judges are expected to consider them in arriving at an appropriate sentence for the offender


A data-collection program run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that tallies crime statistics annually; Reports under the program consist primarily of data on crimes reported to the police and of arrests


A court requirement that a convicted offender pay money or services to the victim of the crime or provide services to the community

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