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The Crime Victim Movement was recognized due to the traumatic experience suffered by victims of crime that began to emerge in the early 1970's when studies indicated that nearly two-thirds of all crimes went unreported. This stirred law enforcement officials to focus attention on the needs and rights of the victim. At the same time, the effort made by women to assist rape victims and battered wives increased public sensitivity to the psychological effects of crime on victims.

The Crime Victim Movement gained momentum in 1982 from the Presidential Task Force on Victims of Crime. The resulting federal Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 spawned reforms in state laws giving rights to crime victims. In 1984, the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed Act 96, the Victim Bill of Rights. On June 4, 1992 a new and expanded "Victim Bill of Rights" (Act 155 of 1992) takes effect.

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