Supporting Victims and Survivors of Crime Through Technology

Many of us do not fully understand victims’ experiences, so during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we have the opportunity to learn and support.

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. 

What Are Victims’ Rights After a Crime?

Under the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 1984, in the aftermath of a serious crime, victims and survivors have the following rights:

  • The right to be protected from the accused

  • The right to notification and information

  • The right to be present

  • The 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

  • The right 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. 

Using Technology to Help Empower and Inform Victims

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. 

Recognizing National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

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.