Wisconsin's History of Standing up for Victims
Checking back in with our weekly blog and happy to report there are lots of folks wanting to help secure equal rights for crime victims. We’re not surprised – Wisconsin has a long history of leading the way on this issue.
As a matter of fact, Wisconsin was the first state to create a “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.” Here’s a rundown of that and other key moments in Wisconsin’s proud history of standing up for victims:
- In 1976, “The First National Conference on Battered Women” is sponsored by the Milwaukee Task Force on Women.
- Also in 1976, Wisconsin and Nebraska became the first states to abolish the marital rape exemption – making clear rape is rape, whether the perpetrator is married to the victim or not.
- In 1980, Wisconsin became the first state to create a “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights,” declaring legal rights for victims of crime.
- In 1983, Wisconsin went further by being the first state to pass a “Child Victim and Witness Bill of Rights.”
- In 1993, voters ratified a constitutional amendment recognizing victims’ rights, something many other states have also done.
Unfortunately, we hear from too many victims whose voice was ignored or rights were trumped by the more far-reaching constitutional rights of those accused or convicted of crimes.
We are working to put a stop to that by exploring all the ways we need to make sure victims in our state have rights equal to those of the accused or convicted – and as you can see, Wisconsin gets it.