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Victim Witness Assistance

The United States Attorney's Office is committed to providing support and information to victims and witnesses involved in civil and criminal litigation proceedings in which the U.S. Department of Justice is a party. A primary goal is to ensure that victims of crime are treated fairly, with dignity, and respect for their privacy.

Cases prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney are referred to the office by investigative agencies. Once federal charges are filed and the charges are made public, the U.S. Attorney's Office begins to carry out its responsibilities to victims and witnesses.

crime victim bill of rights

Federal crime victims have the following rights, as specified in 42 U.S.C. Section 10606:

  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.

  • The right to be notified of court proceedings.

  • The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that testimony by the victim would be materially affected if the victim heard other testimony at trial.

  • The right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.

  • The right to restitution.

  • The right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.

It is the goal of the Office's Victim Witness Assistance staff to ensure victims and witnesses are accorded those rights.

Click HERE to view the Victim Witness Brochure.

Definition of a victim

The Attorney General's Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance define a victim as a person that has suffered direct physical, emotional, or pecuniary harm as a result of the commission of a federal crime. If the victim is a non-governmental institution, such as a bank or corporation, this definition includes a representative of that institution. Government agencies are not considered victims for the purpose of victim services but federal government employees who are harmed in the performance of their duties are considered victims. If the victim is deceased, under 18 years of age, incompetent or incapacitated, this definition includes one of the following persons (in order of preference):

  • A spouse;
  • A legal guardian;
  • A parent;
  • A child:
  • A sibling;
  • Another family member; or
  • Another person designated by the court

A person who is culpable for the crime being investigated or prosecuted is not considered a victim for purposes of victim rights and services.

Definition of a witness

The Attorney General's Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance define a witness as a person who has information or evidence concerning a crime, and provides information regarding his or her knowledge to a law enforcement agency. Where the witness is a minor, the term witness includes an appropriate family member or legal guardian. The term witness does not include a person who is solely a defense witness.

services and assistance

Our office staff works together to ensure that victims are informed of the status of cases and to help victims find services to assist to help them recover from the effects of being victimized.

The following services and assistance will be provided:

  • Accompaniment
  • Advocacy
  • Case Status Updates and Notification (primarily through the Victim Notification System)
  • Courtroom Orientation
  • Creditor/Employer/School Intercession
  • Information and assistance with travel, lodging, parking, and reimbursement for mandatory court appearances
  • Referrals to other appropriate agencies
  • Separate waiting area away from the defendant
  • Support
  • Victim Rights Notification
  • Victim Notification System
  • Victim/Witness Intimidation Response

how to contact us

The Victim Witness Unit is comprised of an experienced Victim Witness Coordinator and two Victim Witness Assistants. Our staff can be contacted at the following telephone numbers or email addresses:

the following links provide further information for crime victims and witnesses

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