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Comprehensive Victims and the Media Guides Now Available Free Online
Justice Solutions (a national non-profit organization) has just published online two comprehensive guides on the subject of victims and the media. Crime Victims United of Illinois urges ALL those in the media who cover issues of crime and might ever talk to victims to READ this:
The first, entitled A Media Guide for Victim Service Providers (2009), is intended to help victim service providers advise victims in their dealings with the media. The Guide also includes chapters written to help victim organizations/agencies seeking to build positive working relationships with the media while enhancing the public visibility of their victim organization or agency. It is intended to serve the entire spectrum of the victim services field from professionals who are brand new to their role as “victim media advisor” to those with decades of experience. This Guide contains field-tested techniques and practical state-of-the-art strategies that will help victims steer around the common pitfalls while minimizing typical trauma associated with crime coverage in modern media. Topics addressed include: “Ethics for victim media advisors/advocates”; “How to advise victims regarding the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’ of media interviews, press conferences and talk shows”; “How to create a public education media plan for your organization”; and “How to establish a working relationship with members of the media that will benefit both your victim advisees and your organization/agency.” The second groundbreaking publication, entitled A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims (2009), is designed to advise and assist journalists who seek to cover crime and victimization in a way that is sensitive to crime victims, yet still allows them to fulfill their role and responsibilities to the public as reporters. This first-of-its-kind Guide is not only intended to encourage more victim sensitive coverage, but it also explains the important role of victim advocates and service providers in regards to members of the media and explores ways that journalists can work with them more effectively to the benefit of both. The Guide provides journalists with practical tips, techniques and advice from practicing journalists, educators and media advisors, all with the purpose of helping journalists “get the story” without re-victimizing victims. Topics include: “What to say and what not to say to victims in crisis”; “How to approach surviving family members of murder victims”; “The law and ethics regarding reporting and victim privacy”; and “How to enhance your chances of getting an interview (including the victim’s inside story) using simple strategies, policies and practices that respect the needs and concerns of crime victims.” The Journalists Guide can also be used by victim service providers as an effective educational tool for the media since it can be downloaded, printed and distributed directly to members of the media or incorporated as part of an ongoing media education program.
Article: Prison is a bargain by any measure
March 2011 – Crime Victims United of Illinois’ director appears in Fox News Chicago story about an inmate who is earning money in prison but will not use it for victim restitution or for compensating the state for his incarceration.
See media coverage from our “C Number” HOMICIDE VICTIM, and LAW ENFORCEMENT PICNIC
Download the Press Release
Springfield Journal Register on the Crime Victims Rights Constitutional Amendment that we are supporting
Don’t miss this inspiring video about the Chicago-based Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation Helping Children of Murdered Parents.
New Year 2011 news: Chicago’s Murder Rate Down Report credits smarter policing and longer incarceration of worst offenders
Thank you, States Attorneys and Rep Fred Crespo for HB 693! Support HANNAH’S CAMPAIGN A young stalking victim makes a big difference See photos of the bill signing ceremony!
News from the Illinois Coalition for Enforceable Victims Rights
State Capitol Q&A: Crime victims’ rights subject of amendment proposal
One of the many constitutional amendment proposals suggested for the November ballot would strengthen crime victims’ rights guaranteed by the Illinois Constitution.
But a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over which amendments should reach the ballot first could put the idea in limbo this spring.
This week’s State Capitol Q&A takes a closer look at the proposed crime victims amendment and the situation surrounding it:
Q: What will the amendment do?
A: Introduced last year by Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 19 would make it easier to enforce the rights of crime victims.
Victims would be able to go to court and ask that rights they were denied be enforced. They also would have the right to be notified about post-judgment proceedings and to make a statement at sentencing and other hearings related to early release or parole.
Victims and their family’s safety would have to be considered when judges decide whether to release a suspect on bond and what the bond amount would be, as well is when a convict is seeking parole.
Lang said the amendment wouldn’t affect decisions on guilt or innocence.
Crime victims rights’ have been on the books in Illinois for nearly three decades.
According to the attorney general’s office, Illinois first passed a crime victims’ rights law in 1984. In 1992, voters agreed to add crime victims’ rights to the Illinois Constitution.
Q: Why do advocates say the amendment is needed?
A: Lyn Schollett, general counsel for the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said victims’ rights are not enforceable under the current provision in the Illinois Constitution.
“Right now, there is language in the Illinois Constitution that prevents victims from actually enforcing those rights,” Schollett said. “The constitution says that the victim cannot seek any appellate relief if her or his rights are denied.”
Lang said the amendment would merely guarantee rights victims should always have.
“It provides the ability for someone who has not been given their rights post-sentence to make a motion in a courtroom to be heard,” he said.
The attorney general’s office said a 2008 series of roundtables produced a number of complaints about victims being denied the chance to exercise their rights.
Q: Where is this issue headed next?
A: Lang hopes to push for a House vote as early as this week. The proposal also would need to clear the Senate by early May to be on the fall ballot.
But there’s a catch. The measure needs some Republican support, and GOP has balked already at another seemingly straightforward proposed amendment.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, sought to require more experience when a lawyer seeks to become a judge, but his amendment proposal recently fell short of the votes needed. Republicans voted no, arguing that Madigan’s amendment could keep more important issues from the ballot. The General Assembly can try to amend only three articles of the constitution in a single election, and a proposal to allow future governors to be recalled already has one spot.
Lang called GOP suggestions that Democrats are conspiring to crowd out other amendments “absurd.”
“I’m on the Democratic leadership team. We meet virtually every day during session, and I can tell you that there’s never been a word uttered regarding a desire to fill up the ballot,” Lang said.
Sara Wojcicki, spokeswoman for House Republicans, says the GOP wants to meet with Democratic leaders to prioritize amendments and decide which ones move forward.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego “still wants to have that meeting, and we don’t think it is unreasonable,” Wojcicki said.
Proponents think the crime victims amendment will get through on its merits.
“The fact that it has some competition this year makes the landscaping more interesting, but I don’t think it detracts from the importance from this amendment,” Schollett said. “We’ll just have to see where the chips fall in the end.”