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BEV BUTULA: Victims’ rights, protections at your fingertips

The Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center maintains a website focused on victim rights and protections.

VictimLaw is “a comprehensive, user-friendly, on-line database of victims’ rights statutes, tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, administrative code provisions, and case summaries of related court decisions that meets the needs of a wide variety of users with different levels of substantive and technological expertise.”

The website offers four ways to search. The researcher can search by topic, term, jurisdiction or citation. The database is structured in such a way that the searcher simply follows a series a steps to produce a list of relevant documents.

The “About VictimLaw” link provides additional information regarding searching the collection.

To understand the extent of the collection, I conducted a search for “Case law” and “Attorney general opinions” for Wisconsin. The results included Wisconsin Supreme Court cases back to 1981, Court of Appeal decisions back to 1995, and two AG opinions.

The VictimLaw search results initially produces a list of hyperlinked cases. Following the hyperlink takes the researcher to a case summary. That summary also includes related cases and relevant statutory sections.

The website also explains the nine core rights of victims in a section titled, “About Victims’ Rights.” An extensive listing of other resources is also provided; this list includes both national and state agencies and services.

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