If you are the Victim of a Crime
If You Are the Victim of a Crime
What if you are the victim of a crime?
If you are the victim of a crime, you have some specific rights immediately after a crime has been committed. You are entitled to:
- Receive immediate medical assistance;
- Receive transportation to a safe house or shelter;
- Apply for a 72-hour domestic violence protective order;
- Be notified of and allowed to go to the defendant’s arraignment or initial appearance before a magistrate or judge when the defendant’s bail conditions are set.
- Be informed about the Alaska Office of Victims’ Rights (OVR), an agency that helps victims of crime with their legal rights and their contacts with prosecutors and criminal justice agencies. The OVR serves as an advocate for victims both in court, and in situations where the victim believes criminal justice agencies have violated his or her rights.
In addition to the immediate help you should receive as a victim of a crime, you also have certain rights throughout the legal proceedings against a person accused of committing the crime against you. You are entitled to:
- Be treated with dignity, respect and fairness;
- Be protected from the defendant; for your protection, the court should set appropriate bail or conditions of release for the period of time after the arrest or summons until the end of the trial or the case, and for any period when a convicted defendant is released pending appeal;
- Be allowed to speak with the prosecution;
- Be informed promptly of what has happened in a case after an arrest;
- Be informed about, and allowed to attend, all criminal or juvenile proceedings where the defendant has a right to be present; and
- Receive restitution from a defendant who is found guilty.
Each District Attorney’s Office and each municipal prosecutor’s office has coordinators specially trained to work with victims during a prosecution. The coordinator can help you report a crime and ask police to help stop anyone who is abusing, harassing, or trying to intimidate you. The coordinator can answer your questions about the criminal justice system and your case, and help you in court. The coordinator can give you information about violent crimes compensation, restitution, return of property, problems with your employer, witness fees, and with travel and hotels if you come from out- of-town. The coordinator can tell you about agencies that can provide shelter and services for your legal, medical, social, and mental health needs. Your contact in the district attorney’s office can tell you how to exercise your right to be interviewed for the presentence report, and how to be heard at the defendant’s sentencing. If you need an interpreter, one will provide one at no cost to you.
Where can I get more information about help available for victims of crimes?
The Alaska Judicial Council has produced a helpful brochure for victims: A Handbook for Victims of Crime in Alaska. This handbook describes what happens after a crime occurs, and after conviction. It has an extensive directory of victim services available in Alaska communities at the time of publication.
Information to help crime victims is also available in a number of languages through the Department of Law.
Information on victim services provided by the Department of Corrections, including how you can be notified of the pending release of the defendant in your case through their automated victim notification system, VINE.
Some additional links to resources for victims are listed below: