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Victim rights discussed at Marsy's Law conference

Posted at 5:47 PM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-28 18:49:45-04

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) and Marsy's Law for Wisconsin teamed up to host a two-day virtual conference on victims' rights issues in the state.

The conference included updates from experts on victims' rights initiatives and the implementation of Marsy's Law.

Leaders for the DOJ and Marsy's Law for Wisconsin both said victims' rights have come a long way since the law, which, among other things, provides victims protection against accused criminals and the right to testify in any court hearing in which they're implicated since the law was passed three years ago.

Nela Kalpic, the State Director of Marsy's Law for Wisconsin says Marsy's law has encouraged victims to participate more in the justice system.

"We are hearing victims reaching out and wanting to be involved in the process more," she said, pointing out that she's seeing more victims take advantage of their right to speak at hearings.

While Deputy Director of the DOJ's Office of Crime Victim Services, Erin Welsh, said the new tools to protect victims have helped, there's still a lot of work to do to make sure they feel safe and valued.

"A lot of what we hear [from victims] is 'I just wanted my voice to be heard,'" Welsh said. "A lot of victims and survivors feel that way and don't always feel the criminal justice system reflects how they exactly how feel."

The conversation about victims' rights is set to continue Friday with several more virtual events.