The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that victims of federal crime are treated with dignity, fairness and respect throughout their involvement in the federal criminal justice system, and that they receive the rights and services to which they are entitled under Federal Law. Our Victim/Witness Assistance Program is responsible for providing victim notification and coordinating a variety of victim/witness assistance services during the prosecution.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office typically begins its responsibilities, to victims and witnesses, once federal charges have been filed, and the charges have been made public. To contact the Victim Witness Unit Staff, please call Patrick Balizan, Victim/Witness Specialist, at (415) 436-6993, for San Francisco cases; contact Deborah Kusber, Victim/Witness Specialist, at (408) 535-5176, for Oakland and San Jose cases. The Victim Witness Coordinator for the Unit is Maureen French, (415) 436-6834.
As a crime victim, you have the following rights under 18 United States Code § 3771:
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
- The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, [or] sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
We will make our best efforts to ensure that you are accorded the rights described. You can seek the advise of a private attorney with respect to these rights.
If you believe that the U.S. Attorney's Office has failed to provide you with one or more of these rights, there is an administrative complaint procedure, as provided under 28 CFR, § 45.10. Please contact the Victim/Witness Unit, of the U.S. Attorney's Office, for further information or the Office of Victims' Rights Ombudsman website: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/vr/index.html
Department of Justice Victim Notification System
The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that victims of federal crime are treated fairly as their case proceeds through the criminal justice system. The Victim Notification System (VNS) provides victims of federal crime with information relative to their case. Typically, the victim will receive an initial notification indicating a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that will allow the victim to access VNS on the Internet and via telephone. For more detailed information about this system, please access: Brochure: Victim Notification System.
If anyone threatens you or you feel that you are being harassed because of your cooperation or involvement with a federal case, there are remedies available. Your safety is paramount. If something happens that places you in fear, immediately call your local law enforcement or 911. Then contact the investigating agent or the Victim/Witness Assistance staff. They are available to discuss additional protective measures. In addition, there are penalties for harassment and other threats. Therefore, for your safety, it is important that you report incidences of harassment and/or threats as soon as possible.
Human Trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Victims are young children, teenagers, women and men.
Offices of the United States Attorneys -- Briefing Room
Each month, the Briefing Room will focus on a different subject matter, or area of priority, for the Department of Justice. This website is to promote awareness about important issues, in addition to providing public materials and resources which may be helpful to the community.
- Victims and Witnesses: Understanding Your Rights and the Federal Court System
- Victim/Witness Information
- Victim/Witness Information (Spanish)
- Right To Be Heard
- Right To Be Heard (Spanish)
- Know Your Rights: Victim Impact Statement
- Victims of Domestic Violence
- Victims of Stalking
- Victims of Bank Robbery
- Bureau of Prisons Information for Crime Victims
- Fraud Victims
- Identity Theft Victims
- State of California Victim Compensation Program
- Office for Victims of Crime
- Bureau of Prisons Website
- Internet Safety for ALL
Location of Federal Courthouses and U.S. Attorney's Offices in the Northern District of California