St. Louis Public Radio News
12:57 pm
Mon April 7, 2003

Crime Victims Rally for More Rights

St. Louis, MO – More than a dozen survivors' groups in St. Louis marked the start of National Crime Victims Rights Week Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

They say victims should be allowed more involvement in the criminal justice system.

Ed Stout is the Executive Director of Aid for Victims of Crime in St. Louis. He says an amendment is needed to the U.S. Constitution specifically to protect crime victims.

"What we're calling for is a victim's right to be informed about what's going on with their case," Stout said. "They are the ones who've been hurt. They are the ones whose loved ones have been stabbed, raped, murdered, killed. They should have the right to be informed as to what is going on."

Individual victims groups will be holding meetings and rallies all this week.

Groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Aid for Victims of Crime are part of the effort. They say government has become increasingly responsive to victims' needs over the last 30 years, but more needs to be done.

Stacey Ward spoke at the rally; her sister was murdered three years ago in St. Louis. "I feel that we should have the ability to decide our perpetrators' fate," Ward said.