Victim and Witness Assistance Program
The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Michigan is committed to ensuring that federal crime victims are afforded all rights to which they are entitled by law. To accomplish this goal, each office in the district has a designated individual to provide victim and witness support. Our role is to prosecute cases fairly and justly. Services provided to crime victims and witnesses by the U.S. Attorney's Office include: notice of case events; information concerning their rights; information about case proceedings and the criminal justice system in general; referrals to medical and/or social service providers; assistance with travel arrangements; and logistical information concerning transportation, parking, child care, etc.
List of enumerated rights for victims established by Congress
Discover national programs that assist crime victims
Information for Victims in Large Cases
Provides case status updates for cases
Learn more about the awarding and collection of restitution
Crime Victims' Rights Ombudsman
Receives and investigates complaints filed by crime victims against DOJ employees
Information for witnesses in federal criminal proceedings
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to the questions we are asked most often from victims and witnesses
Provides information about the criminal justice process and the federal court system
Contact the Victim Witness Coordinator for our district
Rights of Crime Victims
The Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004 provides victims of federal crimes legal rights.
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 United States Department of Justice agencies and offices will make their best efforts to ensure these rights. Note that crime victims may seek the advice of a private attorney with respect to these rights.
Services to Crime Victims
Provide general information about the criminal justice process and notice of case events.
Provide referrals for victims to agencies for shelter, counseling, compensation, restitution and other types of assistance.
Provide victims and witnesses with a waiting area separate from the offender and defense witnesses during court proceedings to the extent possible.
Provide support and assistance to victims and witnesses during court appearances.
Provide information or assistance concerning transportation, parking, lodging, and related services.
Provide assistance in notifying the employer regarding absence from work because of attending court proceedings when requested.
The Department of Justice implemented a nation-wide Victim Notification System (VNS). This no cost service provides victims of crime with notice of case events via letters and e-mails as the case progresses through the criminal justice system.
For general information on the VNS System, click on the link below to download the VNS brochure (in PDF format) or call the Victim/Witness Program coordinators at (616) 808-2034 to receive a copy by mail.
If you are identified as a victim of crime, you will receive a VNS letter which includes a Victim Identification Number (VIN) and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that provides you access to the system through the internet at the following address: www.notify.usdoj.gov
In the alternative, you can contact the VNS Call Center at 1-866-365-4968. You will be asked to enter your VIN and PIN numbers to access information. You should notify the VNS Call Center when your contact information changes, for example, change in address or telephone number. You may also contact a Victim/Witness coordinator at (616) 808-2034 to update your notification information.
Victim and Witness Resources/Links
Crime Victim Complaint Process
Michigan Crime Victims’ Compensation
What You Can Do If You Are A Victim of Crime
Qué Puede Hacer Si Es Victima De Un Delito