For the last two years, various U.S. Department of Justice officials have been making a federal case out of victims’ rights. The unfortunate trend is to relegate victims to mere afterthought in the criminal justice system; the Department of Justice seeks to increase their prominence and meet their needs within the system.

From collecting data on victims and their needs after a criminal event, to ensuring that law enforcement has the tools necessary to gather and process evidence provided by a victim, the Department is refocusing its attention to this oft-forgotten stakeholder in the criminal justice system.

Indeed, the true—and sometimes only—aggrieved party to a criminal event, victims must be recognized and empowered to seek justice and achieve recompense, whether monetarily or emotionally.