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  • Sheriff's Office Behind the Badge Newsletter Topic

    Victim Rights (June 2014)


     

    Ensuring Your Rights

    The Victim Services Unit was established to assist victims of crime with information, support and education regarding the criminal justice system. For many, the frightening experience of being victimized is followed by involvement with the legal system which can be confusing and stressful. The professionals assigned to the Victim Services Unit make every effort to assist crime victims in recovering from the physical, emotional and financial impacts of a crime. The Victim Services Unit is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week response team. The Victim Services Unit reviews reports taken by Jeffco deputies. Advocates then provide follow-up contact with victims of assaults, domestic violence, sex crimes, burglaries, robberies, runaways and other crimes. The advocates mail out letters, make phone calls and meet directly with victims of crimes.

    Available Services

    The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit can assist victims, witnesses, their families and friends, following a crime or incident by providing:
    • Crisis intervention with victims and families.
    • Protection and education of victim’s rights.
    • Referrals to supportive agencies, both public and private.
    • Transition to the court system.
    • Assistance with the application process for victim compensation benefits.
    • Liaison with the Victim Compensation Board.
    • Information concerning the status of an investigation.
    • Accompaniment with victims to court appearances.
    • Community awareness programs about victim services to groups, schools and businesses.
    • Restitution and victim impact statement assistance.
    • Employer intervention.
    • Interpretation and special needs services.

    Crimes Covered

    The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit can assist victims, witnesses, their families and friends, following these types of crimes covered by the Colorado Victim Rights Act:
    • Assault
    • Careless driving causing death
    • Child abuse
    • Crimes against at-risk adults or juveniles
    • Domestic violence
    • Ethnic intimidation
    • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing death
    • First degree burglary
    • Human trafficking
    • Incest
    • Indecent exposure
    • Intimidation of a witness, victim, judge or juror
    • Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification
    • Kidnapping
    • Manslaughter
    • Menacing
    • Murder
    • Protection order violation (child sex assault, sex assault, and domestic violence orders only)
    • Retaliation of a witness, victim, judge or juror
    • Robbery
    • Sexual assault (adult or child)
    • Sexual exploitation of a child
    • Stalking
    • Tampering, retaliation or intimidation of a witness or victim
    • Trafficking in adults and children
    • Vehicular assault
    • Vehicular homicide
    • An attempt at any of these listed crimes

    Your Rights as a Victim

    Victims have the right to be informed, present and heard during the criminal justice process. In 1992, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment guaranteeing certain rights to victims of certain compensable crimes. This includes the right to be heard, informed, and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. The enabling legislation, called the Colorado Victim Rights Act, became effective in 1993. 

     

    Numerous criminal justice agencies are responsible for ensuring victims' rights, including the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Victim Service Advocates contact victims directly about their cases and provide information, support and referrals.

    According to the Victim Rights Act, victims have the right to be:
    • Treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
    • Informed of and present for all "critical stages" of the criminal justice process.
    • Free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse; and to have the right to be informed about what steps can be taken if there is any intimidation or harassment by a person accused or convicted of the crime or anyone acting on the person's behalf.
    • Present and heard regarding bond reduction, continuances, acceptance of plea negotiations, case disposition or sentencing.
    • Able to consult with the district attorney before any disposition of the case, or before the case goes to trial and to be informed of the final disposition of the case.
    • Informed about the status of the case and any scheduling changes or cancellations, if known in advance.
    • Able to prepare a victim impact statement, and to be present and heard at sentencing.
    • Able to have restitution ordered, and to be informed of the right to pursue a civil judgment against the person convicted of the crime.
    • Able to receive a prompt return of the property when it is no longer needed as evidence.
    • Informed of the availability of financial assistance and community services.
    • To be given appropriate employer intercession services regarding court appearances and meetings with criminal justice officials.
    • Assured that in any criminal proceeding the court, prosecutor and other law enforcement officials will take appropriate action to achieve a swift and fair resolution of the proceedings.
    • Able to have a safe, secure waiting area during court proceedings, whenever practicable.
    • Informed, upon request, when a person accused or convicted of the crime is released from custody, is paroled, escapes or absconds from probation or parole.
    • Informed, upon written request, of and heard at any reconsideration of sentence, parole hearing or commutation of sentence.
    • Informed, upon written request, when a person convicted of a crime against the victim is placed in or transferred to a less secure correctional facility or program or is permanently or conditionally transferred or released from any state hospital.
    • Informed of any rights the victim has pursuant to the Constitution of the United States or the state of Colorado.
    • Informed of the process for enforcing compliance with the Victim Rights Act.

    Become a Volunteer Victim Advocate

    In the aftermath of a crime or traumatic event, victims often find comfort in the supportive presence of victim advocates. Armed with knowledge about the Colorado judicial system and compassion for those in emotional turmoil, victim advocates can provide support through every step of the criminal justice process. To learn more download the brochure. To apply for a volunteer position, visit our search jobs and apply online page and click on the volunteer job. If you have questions, please contact the training and recruiting section at 303-271-5332.

    Other Resources

    Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA)
    State of Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office for Victim Programs

     




    June 20, 2014


    Last Updated: 6-18-2014