February 21, 2012
Victim Bill of Rights Posters Required in All Courthouses
Posters required by statute soon will be sent to all Clerks’ Offices to ensure compliance with legislation enacted in July 2010. All police departments and courthouses conducting criminal business now are required to conspicuously post a summary of the rights and services outlined in the Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights (section 99 of chapter 134 of the Acts of 2010).
The statute requires the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) to create and disseminate a posting to all mandated locations across the state. With assistance from District Attorneys’ Victim Witness Assistance Programs, the Administrative Office of the Trial Court, post-conviction agencies, and law enforcement agencies, MOVA developed a poster that clearly and succinctly explains the rights and services available to assist victims and witnesses throughout the criminal justice process.
The posting has been translated into 20 different languages. Mandated locations serving communities that speak languages other than English will receive postings in relevant translations to ensure access to this information, based on input from the Office of Court Interpreter Services and Victim Witness Programs statewide.
Mandated locations are required to hang the posting in a “conspicuous” area that is accessible to the general public and where they can easily view the information. As each posting location is structurally and operationally different, there are general guidelines to follow to achieve compliance; for example this may include a main lobby, an area where fliers and announcements are posted, frequently traveled corridors, or any other area that is appropriate and will meet the intent of this law.
Each Clerk’s Office will receive an English version of this posting in the next few weeks and should post it in an easily viewed location. Appropriate translations also will be provided to court facilities managers for posting in a central location to ensure compliance and meet the intent of the law.
At the above link please find a copy of the text of the posting. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Christopher Klaskin, MOVA Legislative Affairs Coordinator, (Christopher.Klaskin@state.ma.us or 617-722-7885) with any questions regarding this new statutory mandate.
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