In the decade of the 1980s the sexual exploitation of children has been identified as a major public health and criminal justice problem. Tremendous strides have been made in shifting the traditional balance of the criminal justice system in this country from an offender orientation focusing on the apprehension, prosecution, punishment, and rehabilitation of wrongdoers to the concerns of vic- tims, witnesses, and their families. Although it is evident that the justice system cannot function without the assistance and cooperation of victims and witnesses, in the past little recognition was given to their rights and little effort was made to assist them in overcoming the frustrations and economic sacrifices involved in criminal proceedings. This attitude began to change in the 1980s with the emergence of a strong national victim and witness assistance movement, which was successful in establishing programs to assist victims and witnesses and in increasing the public’s awareness of victims’ rights. At the national level, President Ronald Reagan appointed a Task Force on Victims of Crime on April 23, 1982, and the U.S. Congress enacted the Federal Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982.
For the full report, please click here.