A victim of a federal crime 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 has 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 rights provided by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act are guaranteed from the time that criminal proceedings are initiated (by complaint, information, or indictment) and cease to be available if all charges are dismissed either voluntarily or on the merits (or if the Government declines to bring formal charges after the filing of a complaint).
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 the complaint to determine whether the employee utilized his or her "best efforts" to provide crime victims' rights.
The Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman does not administer crime victim funds or provide services. If you are seeking information about available resources and services, please contact the Office for Victims of Crime.
Ellen M. FitzGerald
Victims' Rights Ombudsman
Executive Office for United States Attorneys
Department of Justice
RFK Main Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001
A federal crime victim has the following 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 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.