The History of Victim Rights in Washington State
The Victim Rights Movement in the United States began in earnest in the early 1970's, swept in by the momentum of the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Rights Movement, and the Law & Order Movement.
Washington State has been at the forefront on victims' rights, and the following dates mark significant milestones in the Victim Rights Movement in this state.
- 1973 - Est. Crime Victim Comp. Program
- 1975 - Family & Friends of Violent Crime Victims established
- 1979 - Victim of Sexual Assault Act passed
- 1979 - Funding for domestic violence shelters passed
- 1981 - Washington State Crime Victim Bill of Rights passed
- 1981 - Sentencing Reform Act passed
- 1983 - Department of Corrections Victim Assistance Unit created
- 1984 - WA Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates established
- 1985 - Special rights for child crime victims passed
- 1989 - Voters ratify a constitutional amendment on victim rights
- 1990 - Community Protection Act passed
- 1990 - Office of Crime Victim Advocacy created
- 1991 - Address Confidentiality Program created
- 1995 - Prosecutors must inform victims on plea agreements
- 1996 - Victim advocate for the Sentencing Guidelines Commission
- 1999 - Offender Accountability Act passed
Victim rights are continually evolving in this state. As recently as 2006, the Washington Supreme Court (Washington v. Devin) issued a near unanimous ruling affirming a victim's right to collect restitution from a deceased criminal offender's estate. The Washington Coalition of Crime Victim Advocates is dedicated to protecting and improving the rights of crime victims.