Honest, hard-working citizens are victimized every day. Most have never had any involvement with law enforcement or the court system. For years, victims felt as if they were left out of the criminal justice system. Their perception was that the offender had more rights than the common citizen who had been victimized, and many felt victimized once again by the “system.”
This is where the Victim Witness Program comes into play. Our Program began in 1998. Since then we have served thousands of victims. Our victim advocates offer support; act as a liaison between prosecutors, law enforcement, investigators, etc.; explain each step of the court proceedings; notify victims of court hearings; accompany victims to court hearings; encourage victims to complete victim impact statements; assist victims in completing Victim of Crime Compensation Applications (when applicable) and requests for notification through the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and V.I.N.E. (1-800-770-0192).
By notifying victims of court hearings and explaining what is involved in each hearing, our victim advocates give victims an idea of what to expect. This knowledge comforts victims, in that they are not left out of the criminal justice process.
One important service offered in our Victim Witness Program is providing the opportunity to the victim to complete a Victim Impact Statement. Once completed, this written statement is given to the judge to assist him in making appropriate sentence decisions in offenders’ cases. In the Victim Impact Statement, the victim may request restitution (the offender’s payment for personal property, damages, medical expenses, and loss of wages) and let the judge know what type of sentence the victim feels the offender should have. In addition, the victim may speak to the offender or to the judge at the time of sentencing about how the crime has affected the victim’s life. Our victim advocates will accompany the victim to the sentencing hearing, or, if requested, read the victim’s written statement in open court. Judges give serious consideration to such information in determining the appropriate sentence for the offender.
VICTIM / WITNESS SERVICES
The Victim/Witness Program of the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office provides the following services to victims of crime and witnesses in criminal cases:
- Provide victims of crime with high quality support, information, and appropriate referral, which minimizes the crisis and facilitates a return to stability, resulting in an improved quality of life for the victim and a renewed sense of control.
- Advocate for victims with law enforcement, prosecution, probation departments and any others, as needed.
- Liaison between all factions of the criminal justice process, including law enforcement, prosecutor, investigator and others, as needed.
- Assist victims with a meaningful participation in their cases, including keeping the victim informed of their case status, hearings, continuance dates, and any other information regarding their case.
- Appear at hearings on behalf of the victim or their family at which they are not required to attend or wish not to be present.
- Assist victims in preparation of the Victim Impact Statements when requested.
- Provide information concerning the Victims of Crime Compensation Program and, where appropriate, assist victims in the completion of the Application.
- Assist victims in orientation to the courtroom and explain the roles and duties of the key persons in court.
- Assist victims and witnesses in orientation to the grand jury process, providing them with information, support, and encouragement.
- Escort victims and witnesses to any court hearings they wish to attend and offer support when victims testify.
- Refer to appropriate agencies to assist in victims’ needs.
- Notify victims upon request of offenders’ judicial release, parole hearings, and post-incarceration placement investigations.
- Provide the VINE (1-800-770-0192) to assist in notification to victims of offenders’ release from prison.
For more information on your rights as a victim of a crime, please see the following:
- Victim’s Rights: Know your rights as a Victim of Crime
- Contacts for help, or further information
- Information on The Criminal Justice System
- General Information for Victims of Crime and Witnesses
- Witness preparation: What do you need to know to be a good witness?
- Victim of Crime FAQ
Ohio VINE – Victim Information & Notification Everyday
Victims have the RIGHT to know about an offenders custody status.
Register for FREE and ANNONOMOUS telephone or email notifications.
1-800-770-0192 (toll free) or TTY 1-866-847-1298