Whether watching the news, listening to the radio, or scrolling
through social media, we often hear stories of people who have become
victims of crime. In 2020, 2.6 million people in the
U.S. were victims of serious violent crime. We often hear the
news stories, but victims’ experiences can seem distant and
impersonal. In the month of April, there is an entire week known as National Crime Victims’
Rights Week (NCVRW), and this year, NCVRW will be recognized
during April 23-29. This week has been recognized in the United States
since 1981 and is an opportunity to elevate the voices of crime
survivors and the service providers and advocates who work to support them.
During NCVRW, victims, survivors, advocates, and law
enforcement all over the country are encouraged to share their
stories, offer support and resources, and educate others within
their communities. Equifax powers the nation’s largest victim
notification platform, which is known as VINE™. This technology platform gives
victims the information they need to feel safe and have peace of mind.
Using data to help people
live their best is the core mission of Equifax, and this
includes helping survivors of crime and their families feel safe and
empowered through information.
Under the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 1984,
in the aftermath of a serious crime, victims and survivors have the
The right to be protected from the accused
The right to notification and information
The right to be present
right to be heard
The right to confer
with the attorney for the government in the case
The right to full and timely restitution
The right to speedy proceedings
The right to be treated with fairness and respect
The right to be informed of any plea bargain or
deferred prosecution agreement
to be informed of these rights
These rights are ones that have been provided and are
protected by the U.S. government to reduce further harm,
prioritize safety, and empower victims and survivors with information.
In support of victims’ rights, VINE is available to victims
with their safety and well-being in mind. It works to alert victims
when their offender has been released from jail or moved to another
facility. Additionally, VINE Courts and VINE Protective Order, two
solutions built into VINE’s platform, inform and alert victims as they
move through the court process and provide status changes that occur
throughout the lifecycle of the protective order, respectively.
Through VINE, victims have access to timely notifications about their
offender’s status, court and protective order updates, and 24-hour
support via our call center, free of charge to users.
When victims and survivors of crime are empowered with
information about their offender’s whereabouts, court dates, and
protective order status details, they can worry less about being
re-victimized or wonder whether their safety is at risk, because
they have life-saving information available to them when they need it.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a time of celebration
and of reflection. It is important to be proud of the
accomplishments of the victims’ rights movement. It is also a time
for our nation to reflect on additional methods we may employ to
remove barriers to the achievement of justice for all victims of
crime. Victims have stories and experiences that many of us only
see or hear about from our screens, but there are lessons that we
can learn, people we can support, and resources to know about in
case we or someone we know ever needs them. Through technology,
victim resources like VINE help people every day access the
information they have the right to know, so they can live their
lives with a greater sense of peace of mind.
To learn more about VINE and how Equifax helps victims and
survivors of crime live their best, visit us here.