NDAA is the oldest and largest professional organization representing criminal prosecutors in the world
"Prosecutors Working With Victim Advocate Groups" was developed for NHTSA by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), with technical assistance and input from the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) - APRI National Traffic Law Center. MADD is one of the largest advocacy groups in the country. Its members work with prosecutors across the country on a daily basis. These advocates and victims have a unique ability to speak out in ways that prosecutors cannot. The NDAA is the oldest and largest professional organization representing criminal prosecutors in the world. Its members come from the offices of district attorneys, State attorneys, attorneys general and county and city prosecutors with responsibility for prosecuting criminal violations in every State and Territory of the United States.
prepare for the courtroom experience
Safety: Many crime victims are fearful and insecure. Even in impaired-driving cases, they may be afraid of defendants or their families. More likely, they may be nervous about testifying because they view it as a form of public speaking. They may also be afraid that if they do testify they will be either ridiculed or ignored. Prosecutors should respect these feelings and be ready to reassure the victims. Additionally, prosecutors should provide victims with resources to help them prepare for the courtroom experience and present victim impact statements. Having an office-wide policy and resources for victim services can greatly assist with meeting the victims' needs.
Conversations with victims should seek to fulfill their needs for safety, stability, information
Most people have little experience talking with people they do not know about traumatic events. Individuals acting with the best of intentions can harm victims simply by saying the wrong things. Our internal guidelines about treating those as we would want to be treated do not necessarily work because emotions are subjective.
Conversations with victims should seek to fulfill their needs for safety, stability, information, and input. Beyond that, prosecutors should be compassionate and respectful and should listen actively - hearing not only what is said, but also the desires and needs that underlie the statements. Finally, expectations must be managed.
Respond quickly, respectfully, and compassionately to all victims
Respond quickly, respectfully, and compassionately to all victims;
? Refer victims to support services when necessary;
? Educate victims about the criminal justice system and how their individual cases will be
? Provide referrals for victim compensation programs and counseling opportunities;
? Provide written material to victims explaining their rights and responsibilities;
? Speak to victims about their loss and what they would like to see accomplished with
their cases prior to making a plea offer whenever possible;
? Advise victims if they are going to offer a plea with fewer or lesser penalties than the
? Provide victims an opportunity to address the court, when appropriate;
? Prepare victims for the courtroom experience; and
Additional resources provided by the author
Howard Roitman, Esq.
8921 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89117