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Victim And Witness Assistance Program

Victim And Witness Assistance Program icon

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to providing federal crime victims and witnesses the rights and services required by federal law and treating them with fairness and respect. The Victim and Witness Assistance staff can assist victims and witnesses of the cases being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts with the following:

  • Provide notification to victims about the status of the case as it proceeds through the prosecution process;
  • Provide victims with information and referrals to community-based services to help them cope with the impact of their victimization;
  • Provide information about compensation for victims of violent crime;
  • Provide notification, upon request, to the employer of the victim or witness if cooperation in the prosecution of the crime causes absence from work;
  • Provide information to victims about the opportunities to submit victim impact statements and be reasonably heard;
  • Provide information to victims about the restitution process;
  • Accompany victims to federal court proceedings; and,
  • Provide travel and reimbursement information and assistance to witnesses testifying in federal court proceedings.

Contacting Victim Witness Assistance Staff

If you are a victim or witness in a federal case being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and you would like assistance or have questions, call the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ask for the Victim Witness Specialist assigned to the case. Call 617-748-3100 or email

Federal Crime Victims’ Rights

A crime victim has the following rights under 18 U.S.C. §3771(a):

  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 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.
  9. The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.
  10. The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 10607(c)) and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice.

We will make our best efforts to ensure you are accorded the rights described. You can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to these rights.

If you are a victim of a crime being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and you believe that you have not received the rights and services listed above, please contact the Victim Witness Assistance Unit. We will work with you to see that you receive your rights.

A crime victim may file a complaint against any employee of the Department of Justice who violated or failed to provide the rights established under the Crime Victims Rights Act of 2004, 18 U.S.C. § 3771. The Department of Justice established the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman to receive and investigate complaints filed by crime victims against its employees, and has implemented Procedures to Promote Compliance with Crime Victims' Rights Obligations, 28 C.F.R. § 45.10. The complaint process is not designed for the correction of specific victims' rights violations, but is instead used to request corrective or disciplinary action against Department of Justice employees who may have failed to provide rights to crime victims. The Department of Justice will investigate the allegations in your complaint to determine whether your rights were violated by an employee.

Victim Notification System

The U.S. Department of Justice's Victim Notification System (VNS) is a cooperative effort among the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the U.S. Attorney's Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This automated system provides victims of federal cases with information about scheduled court dates and the outcome of significant court events. It also provides victims with information about the offender's custody or release status. In addition to written notifications generated through VNS, victims may obtain case status information by calling the VNS Call Center at 1-866-365-4968 (1-866-DOJ-4YOU) or by accessing the VNS website site:

Access to VNS is limited to victims of federal crimes who have received VNS ID and PIN numbers from the federal law enforcement investigative agency (FBI or USPIS) or the U.S. Attorney's Office. For further information about VNS, contact the Victim Witness Assistance Unit.

Victim Notification System Brochure

Additional Victim Witness Resources


Updated August 18, 2016