Victim Witness

Mission Statement

  • Ensure that all crime victims and witnesses and family members of homicide victims are treated with dignity, fairness, courtesy, sensitivity and respect for their privacy.
  • Reach out to them after a criminal incident, in order to provide a personalized liaison between them and all elements of the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to help them understand the process, to act as their advocate, and to help them with problems they may have as a result of their victimization and/or because of their participation in the criminal or juvenile justice process.
  • Provide them with timely information about significant case status developments in order to ensure and facilitate victims' input and participation at all stages of their cases.
  • Provide them with timely information about scheduled court events and probation/parole revocation hearings, and any changes in order to facilitate their attendance and minimize unnecessary appearances and/or waiting time.
  • Promote awareness and understanding of victims' issues and concerns among criminal justice agencies, related agencies, legislators, the news media and the general public.

Administrative Requirements

By Administrative Rules (see JUS 12), the Victim Witness Assistance Program is required to:

  • Provide notification services to all victims and witnesses who desire them.
  • Notify potentially eligible victims of violent crimes of the existence of the Crime Victim Compensation Program, including an explanation of the available benefits and application procedures.
  • Provide information about and make appropriate referrals to agencies which provide support and other services; keep a listing of referral services, and refer witnesses of homicide and family members of victims of homicide directly to appropriate available community service agencies.
  • Notify witnesses in a criminal justice proceeding of the existence of witness fees and the procedure to be followed in order to apply for and receive any witness fees to which they are entitled.
  • Furnish to the general public and agencies that have contact with crime victims and witnesses information describing the victim and witness assistance services offered by the program and how to avail themselves of those services.
  • Provide information to victims and witnesses who request it on personal support services available to them while they are in court.
  • Inform victims and witnesses who request it of transportation services available related to participation in the investigation or prosecution of the crime and how to avail themselves of those services, including the provision of information regarding the locations of the courthouse and available parking facilities.
  • Inform victims of felonies of their right to provide the court with information pertaining to the economic, physical, and psychological effects of the crime upon them, including assistance in the early gathering of restitution information for the purpose of providing the court and the district attorney with information pertaining to the economic effect of the crime upon the victim of a felony.
  • Notify employers of the victims and witnesses of crime of their employees' involvement in the case whenever a victim or witness requests such notification and program staff determine it is feasible.
  • Inform victims of their right to have personal property held as evidence returned within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Refer victims to criminal justice authorities responsible for the return of property held as evidence and assist victims in securing the release of the property.
  • Inform victims and witnesses of protection available, the level of protection available, and whom to contact if they are threatened or harassed; and alert appropriate law enforcement agencies and prosecutor when informed of threats or harassment.
  • Provide safe, comfortable and convenient facilities for victims and witnesses to wait upon their arrival to appear in court.
  • Provide witness reception, including information on waiting facilities, restrooms, food service and other similar needs.
  • Assist victims in enforcing their rights under s. 950.045, Stats., pertaining to the provision of written statements concerning pardon and parole applications of convicted offenders.