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Every 12 seconds, a woman is battered. Not a helpless, victimized woman. A woman who takes a stand against what is being done to her. Ellen Pence

Crime Victims’ Rights in Kansas

Robert Stephan Writing Part 3: Crime Victims’ Rights

By Robert T. Stephan, Kansas Attorney General (1979 – 1995)
September 2017

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault always had the right to appear in court, but all too often, they were left out of proceedings when a plea was made in front of a judge. [A plea is a formal statement by or on behalf of a defendant or a prisoner, stating guilt or innocence in response to a charge, offering an allegation of fact, or claiming that a point of law should apply.] It was incumbent on [or the necessary duty or responsibility of,] the District Attorney or County Attorney to advise the victim, but unfortunately on numerous occasions this obligation was neglected. I concluded that the only way to make this occur and to make this right was to make this part of the Kansas Constitution.

As Kansas Attorney General, I set out to get grass roots support to get a victims right amendment on the ballot. I held public hearings commencing in 1988 in Wichita, Overland Park, Topeka, Garden City, Hays and Pittsburg. A Victims’ Rights Task Force was formed.

I followed the lead of President Reagan who established the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime. He said that innocent victims of crime have been overlooked.

Four years after the task force was formed, a state Constitutional Amendment was placed on the ballot. I presented to the House and Senate Judiciary committees a petition that was signed by 4,000 Kansans. It was passed by 84% of voters. The amendment provided that victims of crime have the right to be informed of and to be present at public hearings and to be heard at sentencing. This important right to be heard was no longer optional but was a constitutional right.

States continue to pass laws meaningful to victims of sexual assault. In 2017, Kansas joined 31 other states in passing legislation allowing a judge to issue protection orders to survivors of sexual assault.

The legislature in 2017 amended the Protection from Abuse Act and Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault to the definition of abuse, and the legislation updated the Crime Victims Compensation Bill to allow sexual assault victims the right to seek crime victims’ compensation for mental health counseling.

Derek Schmidt, the current Kansas Attorney General, has been active in ensuring senior citizens that are in need of proper care are heard. I chair the Senior Consumer Protection Advisory Committee that was established by General Schmidt. The Committee hears, among other things, neglect and abuse, theft, and fraud that occurs to senior citizens and recommends preventative action.

The Committee alerts County and District Attorneys as well as care givers for what to look in regards to financial abuse [which is one of eight, main, universal tactics of domestic violence abusers]. For example, an individual was charged in court, because they took more than $94,000 from an 87 year old woman by lying to her about the upgrade of lightning rods and the need for continued work on her home. People are warned to never open their doors to strangers. Always get references before dealing with a person or company. The Better Business Bureau should be contacted to check on a person or company.

 



Read more of Robert Stephan’s writing about his own experience of domestic violence and about creating victims’ rights constitution in Kansas.


If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call a domestic violence or sexual assault organization in Kansas near you or contact national resources that are available to you.

 


Updated 11/21/2017

Alliance Against Family Violence In Leavenworth, Kansas Temporarily Closed

11-30-2017

Alliance Against Family Violence In Leavenworth, Kansas Temporarily Closed Contact: Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, Media ContactKansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violencelwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335 | Mobile: 785-633-6648http://kcsdv.org       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 30, 2017   Alliance Against Family Violence In Leavenworth, Kansas Temporarily Closed TOPEKA,...

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KCSDV Mourns Death of Coalition Member Organization Staff Member Murdered by Partner

11-15-2017

KCSDV Mourns Death of Coalition Member Organization Staff Member Murdered by Partner Contact: Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, Media Contact lwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335 | Mobile: 785-633-6648http://kcsdv.org         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 15, 2017 KCSDV Mourns Death of Coalition Member Organization Staff Member Murdered by Partner TOPEKA,...

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Crime Victims’ Rights in Kansas

11-09-2017

Robert Stephan Writing Part 3: Crime Victims’ Rights By Robert T. Stephan, Kansas Attorney General (1979 – 1995)September 2017 Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault always had the right to appear in court, but all too often, they were left out of...

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2017 Kansas Crime Victims Conference Speech

11-02-2017

Crime Victims’ Rights Former Kansas Attorney General Robert Stephan, who championed crime victims’ rights in Kansas, wrote the following speech and had planned to give it at the 2017 Kansas Crime Victims Conference but did not get the chance due to...

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An Adult Survivor’s Story of Domestic Violence

10-30-2017

An Adult Survivor’s Story of Domestic Violence Robert Stephan was Attorney General for Kansas in 1979 – 1995. He has been very active and involved in reform and making laws and processes better for victims and survivors in the state of...

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Friends of Yates Opens Renovated Domestic Violence Shelter

10-27-2017

Friends of Yates Opens Renovated Domestic Violence Shelter Contact: Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, Media Contact lwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335 | Mobile: 785-633-6648http://kcsdv.org       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 26, 2017   KCSDV Coalition Member Friends of Yates Opens Renovated Domestic Violence Shelter TOPEKA, Kan. – Northeast Kansas’ Friends...

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Remembering Victims and Survivors as an Attorney

10-26-2017

Remembering Victims and Survivors as an Attorney Kansas Legal Services has been a partner of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) on legal issues for many years. The following piece of writing is by Marilyn Harp, Executive Director of...

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Purple Thursday at KCSDV

10-24-2017

Purple Thursday at KCSDV We are grateful for working together with all to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence! We wore purple on Purple Thursday (October 19, 2017) to show support for survivors and to increase awareness about domestic violence. Learn...

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Trusting Friends About Domestic Violence and Fear

10-19-2017

Trusting Friends About Domestic Violence and Fear Carla Stovall Steckline was Kansas' Attorney General in 1995 - 2003, and in this piece, which she wrote for the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence's (KCSDV) blog, she remembers a friend, who...

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Domestic Violence in the Suburbs

10-16-2017

Domestic Violence in the Suburbs “…Domestic abuse affects people across all socioeconomic lines.” - Janee' Hanzlick The situation: A man shot and killed his wife – and then he shot himself. It happened on July 31, 2017 in their Prairie Brook neighborhood home...

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An Adult Survivor on Domestic Violence and Tragedy as a Child and Now

10-11-2017

An Adult Survivor on Domestic Violence and Tragedy as a Child and Now By Crispian Paul, Member of Women for Kansas September 2017 In the Wichita Eagle newspaper published on February 26, 1994, there was an article titled, "Dad of Girl Killed in...

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Power and Control Wheel

10-06-2017

Power and Control Wheel The Power and Control Wheel is an infographic that describes how abusers and batterers do things that result in power and control over another person – that person being their partner, who is in an intimate relationship...

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Kansas Proclaims October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

10-03-2017

Kansas Proclaims October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month We are happy to announce that the month of October is officially proclaimed by the governor of Kansas as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (#DVAM2017)!

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Press Release: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

09-29-2017

Press Release October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 29, 2017 Press Contact: Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, Media Contact lwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335Mobile: 785-633-6648http://kcsdv.org       TOPEKA, KS – The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) recognizes the 30th anniversary of Domestic...

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Statement: Condemning Violence

08-16-2017

Statement: Condemning Violence FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 16, 2017 Topeka, KS – The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) advocates for the prevention and elimination of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Oppression such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and...

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Press Release: Kansas Serial Rapist Investigation by Police, KCSDV Coalition Member Resources and Information

08-01-2017

PRESS RELEASE Kansas Serial Rapist Investigation by Police, KCSDV Coalition Member Resources and Information FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 1, 2017 Media Contact:Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, KCSDVlwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335Mobile: 785-633-6648 MANHATTAN, KS – On Thursday, July 27, 2017, the Riley County Police and...

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Pittsburg, Kansas' Safehouse Crisis Center Opens New Domestic Violence Shelter

07-21-2017

Pittsburg, Kansas’ Safehouse Crisis Center Opens New Domestic Violence Shelter FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 21, 2017 Media Contact:Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, KCSDVlwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335Mobile: 785-633-6648      PITTSBURG, KS – This week, the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence's (KCSDV) coalition member...

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Kansas Lawmakers Pass Significant Violence- And Abuse-related Bills Into Law That Are Effective July 1, 2017

06-29-2017

Kansas Lawmakers Pass Significant Violence- And Abuse-related Bills Into Law That Are Effective July 1, 2017 For Immediate Release: June 29, 2017 Media Contact:Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinator, KCSDVlwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335Mobile: 785-633-6648      TOPEKA, KS – This Saturday, July 1, 2017, new domestic violence-,...

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The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Marks 35 Years Since Founding On June 22, 1982

06-26-2017

The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence Marks 35 Years Since Founding On June 22, 1982 For Immediate Release: June 26, 2017 Media Contact:Lucca Wang, Communications Coordinatorlwang@kcsdv.orgOffice: 785-232-9784 Extension 335Mobile: 785-633-6648       TOPEKA, KS – This year, in a tumultuous year for women’s...

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MOCSA Recognized for Innovative and Effective Workplace Practices

05-25-2017

MOCSA Recognized for Innovative and Effective Workplace Practices Receives prestigious When Work Works Award KANSAS CITY, Mo.─ the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) has been honored with a 2017 When Work Works Award for exemplary workplace practices. The prestigious When Work...

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NNEDV National Survey Results

05-19-2017

Survey Reveals Impact of Increased Immigration Enforcement on Victims Experiencing Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Washington, DC (May 18, 2017) – On May 18th, seven national organizations – including Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (APIGBV), ASISTA, Casa de Esperanza: National...

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NSVRC Press Release - Visionary Voice Awards 2017

05-01-2017

National Sexual Violence Resource Center Recognizes Leaders in Sexual Assault Prevention With 2017 Visionary Voice Awards Recipients include trailblazers in advocacy, legislation and the justice system PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Enola, PA, April 11, 2017 – The National Sexual Violence Resource Center...

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Press Release - Audrie & Daisy Screening

03-28-2017

Student Groups Screen Documentary & Host TalkbackHighlighting Sexual Assault [PITTSBURG, KANS. – April 3, 2017] – Students for Violence Prevention (SVP) in coordination with Safehouse Crisis Center, the Tilford Group, Student Alliance for Gender Equality, and Gorillas in Your Midst present...

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Kansas Coalition Provides Services to All

02-16-2017

KCSDV Provides Services to All, Regardless of Immigration Status TOPEKA, KS – Recently, a domestic violence victim was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in El Paso, TX while seeking a protection order from her abuser. While not all details...

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NNEDV Response to ICE Actions

02-16-2017

NNEDV condemns ICE detention of immigrant victim of domestic violence.  FEBRUARY 16, 2017 - In El Paso, TX, a victim of domestic violence was seeking an order of protection from her abusive boyfriend when she was arrested in court by Immigration...

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KCSDV Press Release - Advocacy Day 2017

01-30-2017

Advocacy Day at Capitol for Sexual and Domestic Violence Programs For Immediate Release:  Monday, January 30, 2017 Contact:  Shannon KennedyKCSDV Communications Coordinatorskennedy@kcsdv.org785-232-9784 ext. 335 TOPEKA, KS – February 8th, Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence will be hosting their 14th Annual Advocacy...

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KCSDV Press Release - 2017 Prevention Conference

01-23-2017

International Filmmaker and McArthur Fellow to give Keynotes at Topeka Conference For Immediate Release:  Monday, January 23, 2017 Contact:  Shannon KennedyKCSDV Communications Coordinatorskennedy@kcsdv.org785-232-9784 ext. 335 TOPEKA, KS – February, Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence will be hosting their second conference for...

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