Criminal Justice Orientation and Information
Victim-witness counselors of the county office of victim-witness advocacy will explain the criminal justice system so that victims will know what will happen and when. If asked, victim-witness counselors can take a victim to the courtroom before the trial or grand jury hearing to explain exactly what will happen.
Victim Information and Impact Form
You will have several chances to tell the assistant prosecutor and the judge about how the crime affected you. The county office of victim-witness advocacy will send you a Victim Information and Impact form with the initial contact letter and at other times during the prosecution. County office staff can help you fill out the form and prepare both oral and written statements.
Counseling and Support Services
The county office of victim-witness advocacy staff are trained to help you deal with the initial shock of the crime and the difficult emotional times afterward. If you feel that you would like to talk to someone on a regular basis, the staff can help you find a mental health counselor who may or may not charge you for services. Several county programs sponsor support groups for sexual assault victims, domestic violence victims and homicide survivors. Office staff can also assist victims to find a battered women's shelter or obtain food and clothing.
Case Status Notificationtop
The office of victim-witness advocacy will let victims know of specific events in their case and possible delays in proceedings. Sometimes this is done by telephone, but most often notification is done by mail. As a victim, you will receive some or all the following letters depending on your case:
1. An initial contact or introductory letter that informs the victim or witness that the case has been referred to the prosecutor's office and explains and offers the services available from the county office of victim-witness advocacy.
2. Pre-grand jury remand.
3. Administrative dismissal.
4. Grand jury remand.
5. Grand jury dismissal (no bill).
6. Indictment returned (true bill).
7. Acceptance into Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI).
8. Termination from or completion of Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
9. Negotiated plea on all charges.
10. Release on bail/conditions of bail.
11. Fugitive status.
12. Court dismissal.
13. Sentencing date.
14. Sentence imposed on the defendant by the court.
15. Defendant's filing of an appeal and subsequent status changes.
16. Disposition on all charges.
19. Post-conviction release.
You do not have to wait for the county office of victim-witness advocacy to contact you. If you want to know what is happening with your case, call the county office of victim-witness advocacy and someone will get the information for you.
Court Accompaniment and Transportation Servicestop
When your case comes to trial, staff can go with you to court to explain what is going on as well as give you support. If you are called to testify, you can give the county office of victim-witness advocacy receipts for bus or taxi fare and be reimbursed by the prosecutor's office. The county office of victim-witness advocacy can also help you with expenses you may have if you are not testifying, but want to be in court.
Child Care to Attend Meetings and Court Proceedingstop
The county office of victim-witness advocacy can help you with caring for your children if you need to come to court. You should try to leave your children with family or friends first. This is more comfortable for your children since you may be in court all day. However, if you cannot find someone to watch your children, you should call the county office of victim-witness advocacy to let them know you will need assistance. They will help you arrange for child care.
HIV Testing of Defendants and HIV Information and Referrals for Victimstop
If you came in contact with any bodily fluid of your attacker, such as blood, spit or semen, or if your attacker pricked you with a drug needle, you can ask the court to order the defendant to have a test for HIV or AIDS. A victim-witness counselor can help you.
Additionally, you should also call the county office of victim-witness advocacy or the local health department to get information about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A victim-witness counselor can help you find a place that offers free, confidential testing for yourself.
Assistance in Obtaining Restitutiontop
Restitution is money the defendant must pay to you because of losses incurred from the crime. The county office of victim-witness advocacy can help you complete the Victim Information and Impact form. Information on this form will be used by the assistant prosecutor, the probation department and the judge to decide how much restitution the defendant should pay to you. Restitution cannot be for an amount greater than the actual amount of losses you suffered.
Employer and Creditor Intercessiontop
The county office of victim-witness advocacy can help you if you are having difficulty at work or school because of the crime or because you had to take time off for court. They can write letters and make phone calls explaining your situation. They can also contact creditors if you are not able to pay some bills on time because of the crime.
Assistance with Property Return top
The county office of victim-witness advocacy can also help you to get personal items back which were kept for evidence. Most items cannot be returned, however, until after the sentencing.
Victim-Witness Waiting Roomstop
The county office of victim-witness advocacy provides waiting rooms where you can stay while you are waiting to meet with an assistant prosecutor or investigator or waiting to go to court.
Parole Eligibility and Release Notification
The county office of victim-witness advocacy notifies you when the defendant is going to be considered for parole
- referrals for counseling services
- referrals to various social agencies
- assistance in applying for compensation for uninsured medical expenses, lost wages, emergency assistance, counseling and funeral expenses through the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Board
- information on crime prevention.