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42 U.S.C. Section 10607. Services to Victims

(a) Designation of responsible officials

The head of each department and agency of the United States engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime shall designate by names and office titles the persons who will be responsible for identifying the victims of crime and performing the services described in subsection of this section at each stage of a criminal case.

(b) Identification of victims

At the earliest opportunity after detection of a crime at which it may be done without interfering with an investigation, a responsible official shall -

  1. identify the victim or victims of crime;
  2. inform the victims of their right to receive, on request, the services described in subsection (c) of this section; and
  3. inform each victim of the name, title, and business address and telephone number of the responsible official to whom the victim should address a request for each of the services described in subsection (c) of this section.

(c) Description of services

A responsible official shall:

(A) inform a victim of the place where the victim may receive emergency medical and social services;
(B) inform a victim of any restitution or other relief to which the victim may be entitled under this or any other law and manner in which such relief may be obtained;
(C) inform a victim of public and private programs that are available to provide counseling, treatment, and other support to the victim; and
(D) assist a victim in contacting the persons who are responsible for providing the services and relief described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C).

  1. A responsible official shall arrange for a victim to receive reasonable protection from a suspected offender and persons acting in concert with or at the behest of the suspected offender.
  2. During the investigation and prosecution of a crime, a responsible official shall provide a victim the earliest possible notice of :

    (A) the status of the investigation of the crime, to the extent it is appropriate to inform the victim and to the extent that it will not interfere with the investigation;
    (B) the arrest of a suspected offender;
    (C) the filing of charges against a suspected offender; (D) the scheduling of each court proceeding that the witness is either required to attend or, under section 10606(b)(4) of this title, is entitled to attend;
    (E) the release or detention status of an offender or suspected offender;
    (F) the acceptance of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or the rendering of a verdict after trial; and
    (G) the sentence imposed on an offender, including the date on which the offender will be eligible for parole.

  3. During court proceedings, a responsible official shall ensure that a victim is provided a waiting area removed from and out of the sight and hearing of the defendant and defense witnesses.
  4. After trial a responsible official shall provide a victim the earliest possible notice of:

    (A) the scheduling of a parole hearing for the offender;
    (B) the escape, work release, furlough, or any other form of release from custody of the offender; and the death of the offender, if the offender dies while in custody.

  5. At all times, a responsible official shall ensure that any property of a victim that is being held for evidentiary purposes be maintained in good condition and returned to the victim as soon as it is no longer needed for evidentiary purpose.
  6. The Attorney General or the head of another department or agency that conducts an investigation of a sexual assault shall pay, either directly or by reimbursement of payment by the victim, the cost of a physical examination of the victim which an investigating officer determines was necessary or useful for evidentiary purposes.
  7. A responsible official shall provide the victim with general information regarding the corrections process, including information about work release, furlough, probation, and eligibility for each.

(d) No cause of action or defense

This section does not create a cause of action or defense in favor of any person arising out of the failure of a responsible person to provide information as required under this section.

(e) Definitions

For the purposes of this section -

  1. the term `responsible official' means a person designated pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to perform the functions of a responsible official under that section; and
  2. the term `victim' means a person that has suffered direct physical, emotional, or pecuniary harm as a result of the commission of a crime, including -
    • (A) in the case of a victim that is an institutional entity, an authorized representative of the entity;
      (B) in the case of a victim who is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, one of the following (in order of preference):

      (i) a spouse;
      (ii) a legal guardian;
      (iii) a parent;
      (iv) a child;
      (v) a sibling;
      (vi) another family member; or
      (vii) another person designated by the court.

Updated July 24, 2015