History of the Program

Original Development

In 1934, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardoza wrote in the case of Snyder v. Massachusetts that "Justice, though due the accused, is due the accuser also. The concept of fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the balance true."

While victims' rights and issues have come a long way from the 1930s and its origin as an outgrowth of the civil rights and women's movements of the 1960s and early 1970s, the balance of justice is still weighted towards the defendant and much work is left to be done. Today, 33 states have passed Constitutional Amendments establishing a Victims' Bill of Rights, including California.

Forming the Current Program

In 1983, legislation was passed (13835.5 PC) "to develop methods to reduce the trauma and insensitive treatment that victims and witnesses may experience in the wake of crime, since all to often citizens who become involved with the criminal justice system, either as victims or witnesses to crime, are further victimized by that system."

Program Funding

Funding for the Victim/Witness program comes entirely through fines and penalties levied against defendants.