Victim Witness-Victims' Rights

Victims' Rights

If you are the victim* of a federal crime, you have the following rights, as set forth in the Justice for All Act of 2004, 18 U.S.C. §3771:

  1. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
  5. The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
  6. The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
  7. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  8. The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

*According to the Act, a victim is "a person directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia. In the case of a crime victim who is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the legal guardians of the crime victim or the representatives of the crime victim's estate, family members, or any other persons appointed as suitable by the court, may assume the crime victim's rights under this chapter, but in no event shall the defendant be named as such guardian or representative."

The United States Attorney's Office will make our best efforts to ensure you are provided the rights described. Section 3771(c)(2) requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the Act specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the Act, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government cannot advise you about specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you.

If you allege failure on the part of a Department of Justice Employee to provide you these rights you may file a written complaint. To access the complaint form on this webpage, please click here.

To learn more about the Justice For All Act of 2004 please visit the Office for Victims of Crime.

If you would like more information about U.S. Department of Justice programs, please visit these websites:

U. S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime

Federal Bureau of Investigation Office for Victim Assistance

United States Bureau of Prisons

USAO 			Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
victims Witnesses Assistance

The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.

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