Yes, victims have rights!

According to Article 1, section 35 of the Tennessee Constitution, victims have certain rights, including:

  • The right to confer with the prosecution.
  • The right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse throughout the criminal justice system.
  • The right to be present at all proceedings where the defendant has the right to be present.
  • The right to be heard, when relevant, at all critical stages of the criminal justice process as defined by the statute.
  • The right to be informed of all the proceedings and the release, transfer, escape, or recapture of the accused or convicted person.
  • The right to a speedy trial or disposition and a prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction or sentence.
  • The right to restitution from the defendant.
  • The right to be informed of each of the rights established for victims.

Unfortunately, a suspect must be indicted for these rights to apply to victims.

Also, there is no penalty for law enforcement violating these rights, so they are not necessarily enforceable.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  If you think your rights have been violated, you should contact an attorney.

People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws is a program of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center to monitor law enforcement responses to sexual violence, develop peer advocacy, and organize for criminal justice reform. We urge you to learn more about America’s hidden rape crisis, where it has been exposed, and why it matters. We invite you to take action and support our efforts to make sure law enforcement takes rape seriously.