Victim Rights

If you have been a victim of crime, you have rights, you are not alone and do not need to endure the pain and trauma alone. On this page you can learn about support services you can call for help and information – and about your rights as a victim of crime.

Talking to someone about what happened to you can be a big help – especially if you talk to someone who knows about victims’ rights and what support services are out there to help you.

After years of advocacy by the Institute of Social Policy and Sciences (I-SAPS) and Center for Civilians in Conflict, supported by the Open Society Foundations, a milestone was reached in January 2014 when Pakistan’s Balochistan provincial government passed a compensation law for civilian victims of terrorism and armed conflict. The new, groundbreaking legislation establishes compensation as a right and standardizes the process and provision of assistance.

This breakthrough also could be a model that should be taken up by other provincial governments in Pakistan, as well as the federal government.

Pakistan federal and provincial governments have some history of providing compensation and assistance to victims of conflict, as documented in 2010 report by the Center for Civilians in Conflict. Yet, the Pakistan government’s efforts have been ad hoc, inconsistent, and often subject to political influence. As a result, victims’ losses often go unacknowledged and they are left to cope on their own. Only comprehensive legislation and standardized policies can ensure victims’ losses are properly recognized and addressed.

Firstly, there is a general lack of public awareness about the legislation. Proactively reaching out to victims and community leaders will help educate the public about how to access and realize this new right.  In addition, hiring and training existing government officials specifically mandated to implement the legislation and act as focal points within the government will be the key. Moreover, Standard Operating Procedures or Rules of Business need to be put in place, with proactive engagement by civil society to guide such implementation, ensure proper and speedy identification of victims, and update victims about the progress of their cases. Finally, rules to guide implementation of the law need to be formulated, which will also help reduce perceptions of unfairness as a result of executive discretion.


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