One difference between a mass casualty event, (such as a natural disaster) and a mass violence incident is the implementation of victim's rights during a criminal investigation and/or prosecution. The definition of victim differs between jurisdictions; but in general, victims are those kill or harmed during the event. The rights of those killed are transferred to Next-Of-Kin. Depending who has investigative jurisdiction determines if state or federal Victim's Rights will apply.
It it is important to explain to victims, when a MVI occurs, often there are numerous crimes that have been committed, not just one. Some crimes may be charged by the state, others by the federal government, sometimes both systems are involved.
There will be time to explain these complex system when a victim is ready and when it is necessary- usually weeks after the initial crisis has calmed.
Transferring Victim's Rights to Next-of-Kin
The term "victim" has a very specific meaning in Alaska's law. The Alaska legislature has defined it very broadly in order to protect not only the person who was the actual and direct target of a crime committed by the person responsible for that act (who is referred to in the law as the "perpetrator"), but also that victim's immediate family. In order to obtain the services of the OVR you must fall within the broad legal definition of the term "victim" found in Alaska statute 12.55.185 (16), which is as follows:
"Victim" means: (A) a person against whom an offense has been perpetrated;
(B) one of the following, not the perpetrator, if the person specified in (A) of this paragraph is a minor, incompetent, or incapacitated: (i) an individual living in a spousal relationship with the person specified in (A) of this paragraph; or
(ii) a parent, adult child, guardian, or custodian of the person;
(C) one of the following, not the perpetrator, if the person specified in (A) of this paragraph is dead: (i) a person living in a spousal relationship with the deceased before the deceased died; (ii) an adult child, parent, brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild of the deceased; or (iii) any other interested person, as may be designated by a person having authority in law to do so
When law enforcement within the state of Alaska investigate criminal activity, state Crime Victim's Rights come into play. Here is the list of State Rights broken down into stages of the criminal justice process:
When a federal law enforcement agency, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has jurisdiction of a criminal investigation, federal victim's rights are enforced. These rights begin after the detection of a crime and apply to victims of all crimes under investigation. These rights are protected under the Victim's Rights and Restitution Act (VRRA).
Click here for a complete list:
When an investigation turns into a prosecution, not every harmed person may be listed as a victim in the indictment. In the Crime Victim's Restitution Act (CVRA), only victims of the counts charged will have access to these mandated rights.
Click below for that complete list: