Clarifies and revises the current language in the Victim Bill of Rights (M.G.L. Chapter 258B) to address unfulfilled commitments, codifies practices by criminal justice agencies that have evolved over the last 35 years, and adds new rights to the Bill of Rights that reflect the needs of crime victims today, including:
- Improved notification to victims throughout criminal justice agencies
- Increased access to victim services to crime victims and families when indictments are not issued
- Strengthened practice and purpose of victim impact statements in the court system
- Enhanced cooperation between law enforcement, judicial system, and post-conviction agencies
The Victim Bill of Rights, enacted in 1983, created the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA), the country’s first independent state victim assistance agency.
Establishes wage garnishment program under the Department of Revenue (DOR) to ensure payment of restitution by offenders. Under the Victim Bill of Rights, victims have the right to request restitution payments in order to compensate for losses suffered as a result of a crime. While restitution may be ordered as part of a sentence, there are currently no mechanisms to ensure that payment is made to victims or survivors.
Reclassifies victim witness advocates, as defined in M.G.L. Chapter 258B,§1, to group 2 status in order to further professionalize the field, reduce staff turnover, and put advocates in the same professional classification as similar court employees.
Creates additional revenue through interest earned to the Garden of Peace Trust Fund, established in 2018, to support operations relative to the Garden of Peace. The Garden of Peace, located at 100 Cambridge Street in Boston, is a memorial commemorating victims of homicide and a living reminder of the impact of violence.