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Victim Witness Unit

Introduction

If you are a victim of or a witness to a crime, the Victim/Witness Assistance Program is designed to provide you with services while you are involved with the criminal justice system.

As a victim of crime, you may be experiencing feelings of confusion, frustration, fear, and anger. Our staff can help you deal with these feelings. We also will explain your rights as a victim or witness, and help you better understand how the criminal justice system works.

One of the responsibilities of citizenship for those who have knowledge about the commission of a crime is to serve as witnesses at the criminal trial or one of the other hearings held in connection with the criminal prosecution. The federal criminal justice system cannot function without the participation of witnesses. The complete cooperation and truthful testimony of all witnesses are essential to the proper determination of guilt or innocence in a criminal case.

Our office is concerned that victims and witnesses of crime are treated fairly throughout their contact with the criminal justice system. The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's Office have taken several steps to make the participation by victims of crime and witnesses more effective and meaningful. One of these steps is the preparation of this handbook. We hope that it will provide you the answers to many of your questions and will give you sufficient general information to understand your rights and responsibilities. Another step has been to employ a Victim/Witness Coordinator who is available to answer any of your questions and to assist you where possible as you participate in the criminal justice process.