Victims’ Rights & Services
Victims’ Rights & Services
The Victim Services Division of the District Attorney’s Office for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit provides information, assistance, and support for victims of crimes within the circuit’s five counties. Victim Advocates are highly trained specialists who assist victims in navigating the justice system and finding appropriate support services. These advocates act as liaisons between victims and the court system. They provide victims with information about their rights, the status of their case, and services for which victims may be eligible.
Victim Advocates can assist victims by providing:
- Information about the status of their court case;
- Notification of any court proceedings;
- Explanation and information about the criminal justice system;
- Orientation to the courtroom setting;
- Accompaniment to/from and moral support in the courtroom;
- Advocacy and support with any problems that they may have as a result of the crime itself or court appearances;
- Referral to social service agencies, counselors, and others who can assist them;
- Assistance in completing their Victim Impact Statement;
- Parole notification so they can know when an inmate is expected to be released from prison if applicable.
The Georgia Constitution and the Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights declare that victims of certain crimes and delinquent acts shall be accorded certain basic rights. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to:
- Reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any scheduled court proceedings or changes to such proceedings;
- Reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of the arrest, release, or escape of the accused;
- Not be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided by law;
- Be heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused;
- File a written objection in any parole proceeding involving the accused;
- Confer with the prosecuting attorney in any criminal prosecution related to the victim;
- Restitution as provided by law;
- Proceedings free from unreasonable delay;
- Be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case;
- File a motion in the criminal case within 20 days of a court proceeding requesting to be heard if they properly requested notification and are not given notice of said court proceeding.
Victims must keep the following people and agencies informed of their current address and telephone numbers if they want to be notified of specific actions in a criminal case against the accused:
- Investigating law enforcement agencies
- The prosecuting attorney and victim advocate
- The Georgia Office of Victim Services (for state incarceration, probation, and parole)
- Any county correctional facility or jail
It is the right and the responsibility of the victim who desires notification under this chapter or any other notification statute to keep the above informed of any changes. If we cannot contact you, we cannot make you aware of important matters concerning the case with which you are involved.
If you need protection, or are threatened or intimidated by the offender, immediately contact the police and make a report. In an emergency, dial 911.
When other resources have been exhausted, the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council may be able to assist victims with up to $25,000 in compensation for expenses and loss of income or support that resulted from their victimization. The crime must have been reported within 72 hours, and a claim must be submitted within three years of the crime or the death of the victim. If a victim is a minor, he or she must apply within three years of his or her eighteenth birthday. The most common compensable crimes include child molestation, cruelty to children, child abuse, human trafficking, sexual offenses, domestic violence, reckless conduct, homicide, homicide by vehicle, hit-and-run, serious injury by vehicle, DUI crashes, assault or battery, and robbery. An individual may qualify for financial compensation if they:
- 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 they relied on the offender for financial support;
- Were the victim of family violence and relied on the offender for financial support.
The program covers several types of expenses, including the following categories with categorical caps:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Counseling expenses
- Lost wage expenses
- Loss of support expenses
- Crime scene sanitation
For more information and how to apply, contact a victim advocate, visit www.CJCC.Georgia.gov/Victims-Compensation, or call 404-657-1956.