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Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982

Prior to the Victim Witness Protection Act of 1982 (VWPA), crime victims and witnesses were largely ignored or used as a means to identify and punish offenders in criminal proceedings. Often, victims of serious crimes were forced to suffer physical, psychological, or financial hardship with no help from the criminal justice system. In 1982, recognizing the vital importance of victims and witnesses in prosecuting and punishing criminal offenders, President Ronald Reagan enacted VWPA, the first federal victim's rights legislation in the United States. As noted in the legislation, the VWPA was enacted “to enhance and protect the necessary role of crime victims and witnesses in the criminal justice process, to ensure that the federal government does all that is possible within limitations of available resources, ...

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