Oklahoma Professionals Learn More About Marcy's Law

Friday, February 21st 2020, 8:40 pm

People who work with victims in the criminal justice system went through training Feb. 21 on how to put Marsy's Law into practice.

This was a constitutional amendment to give stronger rights to victims of crime. Those who participated in this training learned how to guide others through the criminal justice process.

Law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates, mental health professionals and more are getting up to speed.

It requires crime victims be notified and updated in most criminal proceedings. It also grants victims the right to protection and "full and timely" restitution. It also prohibits "unreasonable delay" of criminal cases.

Marsy's Law for Oklahoma State Director Kim Moyer said the law is designed to ease the burden on victims and their families by helping them work through the resources available to them.

"You're trying to get this information to crime victims when it's probably the worst time of their life. They're very traumatized, it's very upsetting, and it's very hard to digest complicated information when you're going through a really difficult time," Moyer said.

She said there's been an increase in the number of people asking for victim compensation. Moyer believes it's because of programs that educate people about Marsy's Law.

"More people are reaching out for help, and getting the help that they need," Moyer said.

This training is especially important because new employees are constantly starting and need to be brought up to speed.

Melissa Blanton heads up the victim services unit for the Oklahoma Attorney General.

"It's very important for people to continue training, and for all disciplines to understand victim rights and for people to understand the resources available to them," Blanton said.

Other topics included protective orders and concerns about confidentiality.

"So that's the ultimate win for this project and the crime victims in our state. It’s that we have a better system in place to help them," Blanton said.

They hope to make sure as many people as possible are educated about the law and push for legislation to address accountability.

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