Your Rights as a Crime Victim
Georgia has a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. Under this bill, you have the right:
- To be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case To proceedings free from unreasonable delay
- To be notified of the availability of Victims Compensation, which is available under the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program at (800) 547-0060 or www.cjcc.ga.gov
- To be notified of the Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights
- To be notified of community based victim service programs
- To reasonable, accurate and timely notice of the following:
- An arrest warrant being issued for the accused
- The accused’s arrest
- The condition that the accused is prohibited from contacting the victim
- The accused’s release or escape from custody
- Any court proceeding where the release of the accused will be considered
- Any scheduled court proceedings or any changes to such proceedings, including restitution hearings
- The accused’s release on an electronic release and/or monitoring program
- To be present at all criminal proceedings in which the accused has the right to be present
- To NOT be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided by law
- To a waiting area, during judicial proceedings, that is separate from the accused and his or her relatives, friends and witnesses
- To be reasonably heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea or sentencing of the accused
- To complete a Victim Impact Statement and have it presented to the court prior to the trial or plea of the accused
- To restitution as provided by law
- To refuse to submit to an interview by the accused, the accused’s attorney or agent of the accused
- To a requirement by court that defense counsel not disclose victim information to the accused
- To be notified by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) if the accused is committed to the DBHDD for an evaluation, as mentally incompetent to stand trial or as not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime. Upon the written request of the victim, at least ten days before the release or discharge, the department shall mail notice to the victim of the accused’s release from such facility.
- To request not to receive any form of written, text, or electronic communication from an inmate who was convicted of a criminal offense against the victim
- To be advised on how to file a complaint with the Judicial Qualification Commission if a judge denies the victim’s right to be heard.
What is crime victim compensation?
One of the rights that some crime victims have is the right to ask for “crime victim compensation.”
Crime victim compensation is a government program to pay back victims of crimes and their families for some of their expenses that resulted from being a crime victim. Compensation is not the same as restitution.
Compensation is only paid after all other resources (e.g., insurance, workers’ compensation) are exhausted.
If you are a victim of crime, you may have many costs related to the crime and your recovery. Dealing with medical and mental health care costs, lost income, and repairing or replacing damaged or lost property can be overwhelming.
Crime victim compensation may be able to help you with these financial matters when you cannot get repaid any other way.
What kind of expenses can crime victim compensation help me with?
Some of the expenses that may be covered include:
- Medical and dental expenses
- Loss of income or support
- Mental health counseling
- Funeral expenses
- Crime scene sanitation
Do I have the right to crime victim compensation?
You may have the right to crime victim compensation if:
- Were physically injured or witnessed a violent crime
- Suffered serious mental or emotional trauma as a result of being threatened or being present during a violent crime
- Were hurt trying to help a victim
- Are the parent or guardian of someone who was killed or injured as a result of a violent crime
- Depended on someone for financial support who was killed as a result of a violent crime
- Are not the victim, but have been paying bills related to the crime
- Have a child who was the victim and you relied on the offender for financial support
- Were the victim of family violence who relied on the offender for financial support
How do I apply for crime victim compensation?
To apply for crime victim compensation online, visit the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program website.
If you cannot speak, write, read, or understand English well, you may be “limited English proficient” or “LEP.” If you are LEP, you have the right to get help in your language so that you can get other services and help. This is called “language access.”
All federal agencies and organizations funded by the US government must get you help in your language.
For more information on language access in the state of Georgia, visit the Georgia Courts Commission on Interpreters website.