Information for Crime Victims

VICTIM/WITNESS ASSISTANCE SERVICE

The Victim-Witness Assistance Service is a division within the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney that provides information, referrals, crisis intervention, courtroom support and escort to crime victims.

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CASE STATUS INFORMATION

Victims are notified by letter when a case has been charged and, upon request, are notified of scheduled court dates. Victim Advocates are available to explain the criminal justice system and to answer questions that may arise during the course of prosecution. For case status, visit the Legal Information Network Exchange at https://linxonline.co.pierce.wa.us/

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS

Victims in charged cases receive a Victim Impact Statement form. This is a statement to the court about the emotional, financial and personal impact that a crime has upon the victim and the victim’s family. The Victim Impact Statement is reviewed by the judge prior to sentencing and becomes part of the court record. A victim advocate may assist victims in preparing this statement. In addition, victims may address the court at sentencing, at the judge’s discretion.


RESTITUTION

The Court may order a defendant to pay restitution as a condition of the sentence. Restitution is money that the offender pays to reimburse the victim for medical bills, property damage and other financial losses that result from the crime. Documentation of a victim’s losses will be requested in charged cases and this information will be presented to the judge. Restitution payments are paid by the defendant to the Clerk of the Court (253) 798-7460. The Clerk then sends a check to the victim. It is important that the Clerk’s Office be advised of any change in the victim’s address.

Victims may also pursue their losses in civil court by contacting a private attorney or Small Claims Court (253)798-6309.

CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION

Crime Victim Compensation is a state program that provides financial, medical and mental health benefits to victims of violent crime. This agency assists in paying expenses that were not covered by the victim’s insurance, as well as wage loss and temporary or permanent disability. There is no provision in this law to compensate victims for stolen or damaged property. Crime Victims Compensation forms may be requested by calling 1-800-762-3716 or may be obtained from the Victim/Witness Assistance Service. Advocates are available to assist victims in completing the application form.

HIV ANTIBODY TEST NOTIFICATION

In some cases, the Court may order the defendant to submit to an HIV antibody test. The victims of those cases may obtain the testing results by contacting the Tacoma-Pierce Co. Health Department (253) 798-3805.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Victim advocates are familiar with social service agencies in the community that can assist victims with the many problems that may arise. Victim Advocates are available to help you and make referrals as needed.

VINE PROGRAM

When an offender is held at the Pierce County Jail, victims may receive information by contacting the VINE program. VINE is a free, anonymous, computer-based service where anyone can view offender custody information. In addition, victims may choose to register for an automated notification call when an inmate is released. To reach VINE, call 1-877-846-3492.

PROPERTY RELEASE

Victim property that has been held as evidence may be released 30 days after the offender is sentenced if no appeal is filed. Victims may contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to arrange for the release of property.

VICTIM WITNESS NOTIFICATION

The Department of Corrections has a notification program for victims and witnesses of certain felony crimes. Those who choose to be enrolled in the program are notified when offenders are transferred from prison to work release, are released into the community, or escape. Victims may request an enrollment form from the Department of Corrections 1-800-322-2201.

MESSAGE FROM THE PIERCE COUNTY
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY

Robnett_Headshot

Victims’ rights are a priority for our office.

Victims have a right to accurate information about their cases and a right to be heard at sentencing. Our victim/witness advocates are available to provide information about cases, answer questions, and give emotional support.

Deputy prosecutors, victim/witness advocates, and legal assistants are all here to serve the community. We hope this pamphlet helps you and is informative. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.

Sincerely,
Mary Robnett
Prosecuting Attorney

Additional Contacts:

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
Victim/Witness Assistance Service

(253) 798-7400

Pierce County Sheriff’s Office
Tacoma Police Department

Emergency: 911
Information: (253) 798-4721

Crisis Line
1-800-576-7764

Sexual Assault Center
of Pierce County

(253) 474-7273

Pierce County
Domestic Violence Helpline

(253) 798-4166

Office of Crime Victim Advocacy
1-800-822-1067

Crime Victim Compensation Division
Olympia

1-800-762-3716

For information on U visas or T visas,
please see our website at:

www.pierceprosecutor.org