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Victims' Rights

Important COVID-19 Message 

 

Letter notifications from the Victim Notification System (VNS) may be delayed as a result of the availability of staff at government agencies during the COVID-19 outbreak. The other methods of notification provided by VNS (email, the VNS Internet site, toll-free telephone number) will continue in operation and will provide timely information. If you have not already done so, we suggest you access the VNS web site (https://www.notify.usdoj.gov) and enter a verified email address to receive email notifications from VNS. Registrants of VNS with a verified email address will receive the same notification information via email as provided by the VNS letters. Instructions for entering a verified email address in VNS can be found at the bottom of this document.


If you plan to attend a court hearing, prior to the scheduled date of the event, be sure to contact the victim assistance staff at the United States Attorney’s Office or check the web site of the U.S. District Court where the hearing is being held (https://www.rid.uscourts.gov/) for any special guidelines on courthouse and/or courtroom access during the Coronavirus outbreak. Please be aware that access may be limited based on government guidelines or restrictions in the local area.

 
You may contact the VNS Help Desk at 866.625.1631 for assistance with the registration process or for other help with the internet system. You will need to provide your VIN and PIN when contacting the Help Desk.
Instructions for Entering a Verified Email Address in VNS https://www.notify.usdoj.gov
1. If this is the first time you have accessed this site:
                     a. You must enter the VIN/ID and PIN contained in the letter you received from the United States Attorney’s Office
                     b. You will also be asked to enter either your last name, or if a business, the business name. The name must be the same as contained in the notification letter.
2. After logging into VNS
                     a. Step 1 - Create a new password. This password can be used in lieu of the VNS PIN when accessing VNS in the future
                                      1. VNS password must be at least 8 characters and may use letters, numbers, special characters or some combination.
                     b. Step 2 - Provide the answer to a security question
                     c. Step 3 - Enter and confirm your email address. A confirmation notice will be sent to the email you entered and your email will be “verified”
3. After completing the above steps, you can use your email address, and the password you created in Step 1, to access VNS in lieu of the VIN and PIN.
4. Entering a verified email address in VNS will eliminate letter notifications in the future and all VNS notifications will be provided by email.

 

Victims' Rights

Our Victim Services Coordinator serves as the liaison between the U.S. Attorney's Office staff and the public on issues relating to victims and witnesses. The program provides information, training and guidance on Department priorities and initiatives in the areas of victims' services, victims' rights, witness management and resources.

In 2015, the Justice for All Act was updated. The updated Act added supplemental rights for crime victims and enhanced rights already in existence. Crime victims have the following rights under Federal law:

  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
  • The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
  • The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
  • The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.
  • 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

If you have any questions please contact Victims Assistance Specialist Tara R. Moniz at  (401) 709-5023.

If you feel an employee of the Department of Justice has failed to provide you with your rights as a victim as stated in the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 2004 we encourage you to file a complaint with this Office or with the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman, who will forward your complaint to the office that is the subject of your complaint. Complaint forms in English and Spanish are available below.

 

 

Updated April 2, 2020

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