SPRINGFIELD, IL –A new law, sponsored by Illinois Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan), will ensure the rights of crime victims are protected under state law.

 “I believe it is important that those who suffer a violent crime have the right to know what happens with the accused,” said Senator Terry Link.  “This new law will not only provide some safeguards for crime victims, but it also includes measures to help police officers learn to better communicate and explain  a persons’ rights if they have been a victim of a crime.”

House Bill 5187 amends the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act and provides that any law enforcement agency must provide a crime victim with a written statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims within 48 hours of initial contact with the victim. 

This legislation also provides that that when a defendant has been committed to any Department of Human Services facility, such as a mental health facility, the victim can request to be notified of any pass given to the defendant to leave the facility, as well as, being notified when the defendant is released, has escaped, or if the defendant has died.

Under current law, a statement and explanation of the rights of crime victims must be given to a crime victim at the initial contact with the criminal justice system by the appropriate authorities and must be conspicuously posted in all court facilities.   There is nothing in current law stating that the victim be notified of a change in the status of the defendant.

“Those who have been victims of crime have asked for these safeguards for years,” said Senator Link.  “This new law is supported by the Attorney General, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, and both the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Abuse.”

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