What is Victim Witness Assistance?
The Victim Witness Assistance Program is designed to provide victims with information, support, and advocacy services to victims, witnesses, and their families while involved in the criminal justice system. Victim/Witness personnel help victims deal with the feelings of confusion, frustration, fear, and anger that they may be feeling from the process. They will also explain to the victim, their rights as a victim or witness, and provide the victim with a better understanding of the workings of the criminal justice system. They act as a liaison for the victims as they interact with prosecutors, investigative staff, and court personnel.
One of the most important and basic rights of victims during prosecution is the right to participate. Victim/Witness personnel ensure that victims are afforded this right by providing guidance and support, and also by encouraging their participation in Victim Impact Statements at sentencing and other critical stages of prosecution.
The purpose of the Victim Witness Assistance Program is to help provide systems-based advocacy and support services for victims during investigation and prosecution of a crime.
The Victim Witness Assistance program provides grants to county prosecutors for activities including, but not limited to:
- Providing information on victim rights.
- Providing assistance in obtaining protection orders.
- Providing information about the criminal justice process and status of the criminal case.
- Accompanying to criminal court proceedings.
- Providing support during legal processes including assistance with impact statements and restitution.
- Notification to victims and witnesses of court proceedings, dates, and events.
- Providing referrals to resources as appropriate.
- Preparation and submittal of orders of restitution.
- Services are available when a crime was reported and is being prosecuted.
- Victim witness assistance can be provided for multiple crime types, including sexual assault, domestic violence, kidnapping, trafficking, homicide, burglary, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.