In the United States, state and federal governments pass thousands of statutes. The protection and enforcement of the victim’s rights in the juvenile and criminal systems are the basis of most of the statutes. Thirty-three states made Constitutional amendments, which protect the rights of victims (Boland, and Russell, 2009). In the 2004 Crime Victims Rights Act (CVRA), some of these changes are included. The basis of victims’ rights in the US is the existence and success of the CVRA. The CVRA advocates for the victim’s active role in the court process and thus has reduced occurrences of unjustified vengeance by the victims directed towards their offenders. It has reduced the number of unjustified acts of vengeance.
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The CVRA protects the rights of victims by making provisions that have allowed victims to have an active role in the court processes. The CVRA came as a reaction to the situation that proceeded before the realization of the victim rights. After the investigation stage carried out by the police, a victim became a passive participant. A victim lacked formal representation in the trial process and was not a party to the proceedings (Boland, L., and Russell, 2009). The only situation where the victim would have an active role in the proceedings was when the prosecution called the victim as a witness.
With the enactment of the CVRA, the victims had the freedom and rights to take part actively in the trial. Among them is the submission of statements that describe how the offender’s action affected the victim. These statements have a great impact when determining the sentence. The victim no longer depends on the prosecution to call him/her as a witness. This is because the victim has a right to speak and the right to be heard in the trial proceedings. The deserving victim‘s compensation is made through the state fund, and such victims may be given relief through the funds collected from fines imposed in the trial.
There are times vengeance seems appropriate, especially where it is a reaction to injustice. However, revenge will not be justified if it involves breaking the Law. According to Bloom, (2001) vengeance brings about an endless thread of retaliation of which systems of law prevent and punish. The purpose of the Law is to prevent retaliation by taking vengeance out of the hands of individuals. The authorities have the right to make such retaliation in accordance with the Law. In this case, vengeance will never be justified where the Law is broken. (Bloom, 2001)
The need for vengeance made the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) lose their vision. SNAP is a support group made up of men and women who underwent mistreatment and abuse by religious figures of authority. According to DiCicco (2009), the activities of this group have changed from constructive criticisms to malicious attacks on the Catholic Church. The group is no longer dedicated to its mission to aid personal healing to the victims of abuses by pursuing justice; its main interest is destroying the name of the Catholic Church. I, therefore, do not agree with the actions of SNAP to slander the Catholic Church. The victims of sexual abuse and mistreatment by the priest deserve justice and sympathy. SNAP may no longer be the right group to spearhead this support group to such ends.
Boland, L., and Russell, B.(2009). Crime Victims’ Rights: From Illusion to Reality. Web.
Bloom, S. (2001). Commentary: Reflections on the Desire for Revenge. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 2(4): 61-94.
DiCicco, L.(2009). The Rights of Victims in United States Criminal Proceedings and at the ICC. Web.
Donohue, W. (2011). Snap Exposed: Unmasking the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Web.