Garvin has worked on crime victims’ rights for over 5 years, helping to grow this area of law and develop the national movement.
“We’ve come a long way in educating the public about the challenges victims of crime face in the judicial process,” Garvin said. “Our federal government and states have made great strides in developing legal safeguards for victims, but we still have a lot of work to do to ensure victims understand their rights and that the system affords those rights. I’m proud to be able to continue this important work to advance justice.”
What NCVLI does
NCVLI promotes balance and fairness in the justice system through crime-victim-centered legal advocacy, education, and resource sharing. NCVLI provides legal technical assistance to attorneys and advocates of victims and educates lawyers, judges, law students, victims’ advocates, the law enforcement community, and the public about victims’ rights. NCVLI also administers federal grants to eight clinics across the nation that offer pro bono legal help for victims of sexual assault, homicide, domestic violence, fraud, and more.
Over the past four years alone, NCVLI’s clinics have represented more than 735 victims, made nearly 1,000 court appearances, and filed over 500 documents on behalf of victims. Over the same time period, NCVLI’s headquarters office has responded to nearly 2,000 requests for legal technical assistance and trained over 12,000 people in victims’ rights.
Crime victims’ rights defined
Seventeen states have no victims’ rights amendment to their constitutions. Even in the 33 states that have made rights for crime victims constitutional, victims and criminal justice professionals often do not know the rights exist, let alone whether those rights are routinely asserted and enforced in criminal courts.
Rights that are enforceable afford victims critical information such as timely notification of upcoming hearings and proceedings involving their case, and also provide victims participatory status, including the right to be present in the courtroom to watch the proceedings, the right to confer with the prosecutor, the right to protection from the accused and those acting on behalf of the accused, the right to be heard at sentencing following the conviction of their offender, and the right to restitution.
“We work on behalf of victims who are being left in the dark about their cases,” Garvin said. “Victims are often uninformed about the investigation, the judicial process, and parole and probation hearings of convicted perpetrators. To achieve justice, victims must be an integral part of the process, just as the defendant, the prosecutor, the judge, and law enforcement are each integral to the criminal justice system.”
Garvin has a B.A. from the University of Puget Sound, an M.A. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in rhetorical theory from the University of Iowa, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota. Learn more about her legal work and achievements and NCVLI.