National Crime Victim Law Institute Statement on the Buffalo Hate Crime Shooting

For Immediate Release

June 15, 2022

National Crime Victim Law Institute Statement on the Buffalo Hate Crime Shooting

Below is the response from Meg Garvin, MA, JD, Mst, Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI):

The horrific, racist assault in Buffalo in April has continued to echo throughout this country even as other mass shootings have taken place.

Today it was announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed multiple hate crime charges against the shooter. These charges acknowledge that hate fueled crimes are uniquely terrorizing. They send messages to not only the immediate victim but to members of the victim’s family and community that they are unwelcome and unsafe. These crimes devalue people, undermine their health and wellness, and damage every principle we as a society hold dear.

Each victim of these hate crimes deserve access to support and services, as they have been thrust into a confusing and sometimes overwhelming criminal justice system. Each deserves to have every question answered and every right protected, so that their experience in our system helps, rather than impedes, their path of healing. Each deserves no cost legal services to protect their rights.

Fortunately, we have made clear commitments to victims in this country through the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA). The Act provides specific rights to crime victims that ensure they can meaningfully and independently participate in the system. The CVRA rights are about ensuring that each victim can have their voice heard, separate and apart from other victims and separate from the government.

Rights, access, equity for all victims is a commitment provided by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. By enforcing victims’ rights and encouraging respect, dignity, and meaningful participation among those directly impacted by this crime, we can ensure that the justice system will be a part of the solution to responding to racism. Without honoring these commitments, the victims will be erased, furthering trauma, and damaging our society.