& Law Enforcement
You Can Do If You
Are a Victim of Crime
victimization is a frightening and unsettling experience for the
millions of Americans whose lives it touches each year. As recently
as 1972, almost no services were available to help crime
victims or their survivors repair the damage to their lives
and property or contend with the traumatic and frustrating ordeal
prosecuting the offender.
due largely to the dedicated efforts of advocates,lawmakers, and
crime victims, a tremendous range of services and resources is
available to help victims obtain justice and heal. The
Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the U.S. Department of
Justice agency that advocates for the fair treatment of crime
victims, wants you to know that if you or someone you love is
a victim of crimeyou have rights, and there is help available.
Rights of Crime Victims
A majority of states have amended their constitutions to guarantee
certain rights for crime victims. Typically, these include the
following fundamental rights:
to notification of all court proceedings related to the offense.
to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.
to have input at sentencing (in the form of a victim impact
to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment,
and release of the offender.
to an order of restitution from the convicted offender.
to notice of these rights.
to enforce these rights.
If you are
a victim of or witness to a crime, these rights apply to you.
You may obtain information about these rights through your local
victim/witness assistance program (usually located in the prosecutor's
office), your state Attorney General's Office, or U.S. Attorneys'
thousands of programs that provide services and sanctuary to crime
victims exist throughout the United States. These programs are
within state government agencies and private nonprofit or charitable
organizations. They provide two general types of services
compensation and assistance.
compensation programs reimburse victims of crime occurring within
the state (including victims of federal crimes) for crime-related
expenses. Crimes covered include violent crimes such as homicide,
rape, drunk driving, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse
and neglect. Expenses covered are medical costs, mental health
counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages or loss of
support. Crime victim assistance programs provide a range of services,including
crisis intervention, counseling, emergency shelter, criminal justice
advocacy, and emergency transportation.
Victim Organizations Stand Ready To Assist You
If you are
a crime victim and are seeking information or referrals on victims'
rights, services, and criminal justice resources, the following
organizations may help you:
Childhelp USA/Forrester National Child Abuse Hotline
Drunk Driving (MADD)
Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
for Victims of Crime (NCVC)
for Victim Assistance (NOVA)
Center on Domestic Violence
Collar Crime Center (NW3C)
for Victims of Crime Resource Center (OVCRC)
Parents of Murdered
Rape, Abuse &
Incest National Network (RAINN)