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Crime Victims' Rights Ombudsman - Filing a Complaint

Who May File a Complaint

If you are a victim of a federal crime and you believe that a Department of Justice employee violated or failed to provide you with one or more of your rights, you may file a complaint with the Department of Justice. A crime victim includes any person who has been directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense or an offense in the District of Columbia. This office will accept your complaint if you are a Federal crime victim in an offense charged in Federal District Court, as required by the Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance.

An employee of the Department of Justice includes any attorney, investigator, law enforcement officer, or other personnel employed by any division or office whose regular course of duties includes direct interaction with crime victims (not including a contractor). The Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman will accept complaints filed against employees of the United States Attorneys' offices, as well as employees of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Bureau of Prisons, Civil Division's Office of Consumer Litigation, Civil Rights Division, Criminal Division, Drug Enforcement Agency, Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Division, Tax Division, the U. S. Marshals Service, and the U.S. Parole Commission.

This office does not have authority to review complaints filed against private citizens or organizations, state or local law enforcement officials, employees of other government agencies, or members of the judiciary or legislature. Complaints filed against these individuals or entities will be closed.

How to File a Complaint

If you wish to file a complaint, you must use the standard "Complaint Alleging Failure of Department of Justice Employee to Provide Rights to a Crime Victim Under the Crime Victims' Rights Act of 2004 Form". You can obtain a copy of the complaint directly from the Department of Justice component, or United States Attorney's Office, that you intend to name in your complaint. It is recommended that you speak with the Victims' Rights Point of Contact in those offices before filing your complaint.

Please review the complaint form carefully and provide as much information as you can. You may seek the advice of an attorney to assist you in understanding your rights and in filling out the complaint. It is not necessary to fill out every part of the form, but complete information will assist the Department of Justice in conducting a thorough review of your complaint. Your complaint should identify the person who failed to provide the right(s) about which you are complaining.

Your complaint must be filed within sixty (60) days of your knowledge of a violation by the Department of Justice employee, but not more than one year after the actual violation. You must sign and date the complaint. If the crime victim is under eighteen (18) years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the complaint may be signed by a Legal Guardian of the crime victim or a representative of the crime victim's estate, family member, or any other person appointed by the court.

Where to File a Complaint

Please return the complaint, including any additional pages or documents, directly to the Department of Justice component, or United States Attorney's office, that is named in your complaint. If you do not know where to send the complaint, you may send it to the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman, who will forward your complaint to the office that is the subject of your complaint.

Contact Information for Filing Crime Victims’ Rights Complaints:

Review and Notification

You will receive written notification that your complaint has been received. If your complaint contains specific and credible information that demonstrates that one or more of your rights may have been violated by a Department of Justice employee or office, an investigation will be conducted by the Department of Justice component, or United States Attorney's Office, where you filed your complaint.

The Victims' Rights Ombudsman will notify you whether or not a violation of your rights as a crime victim has been found. The determination of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman is final and you will not be able to seek judicial review of that finding.

Updated December 8, 2020