Merced County California

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Victim and Witness Information

Victims' Rights in California

As a victim of a crime, you have the right to:

  • Be informed of the current status of your court case.
  • Be assisted by a victim advocate if you are called as a witness.
  • Attend all sentencing proceedings.
  • Speak in person; address the court in writing; or be represented by an attorney at the time of felony sentencing to express your views concerning the defendant, the crime, and its effects on you and your family.
  • Have the court order restitution from the convicted person. The court must make a specific finding that extraordinary reasons make restitution inappropriate if restitution is denied.
  • Receive, on request of the Board of Prison Terms, notice of any hearing to review or consider parole eligibility or parole-setting for prisoners in your case (must keep current address updated in order to be notified).
  • Speak personally; submit a letter, tape recording or video tape; or send an attorney to the parole hearing to express your views about the crime and the person responsible.


Victims' Services

Help from our Victim/Witness Program is available for victims and the families of victims of violent crimes. Victim Service Advocates cannot take away the pain, but they can help the victims and their families get the immediate and long-term help that they need due to the crime that affected their lives.  Some of the services we provide are:
   

  • We will provide crisis intervention for victims in the form of counseling, reassurance and support following the crime.
  • We can also provide immediate emergency assistance to victims such as food, clothing and lodging.
  • We will explain the criminal justice system and individualize it to your particular case.
  • We will direct victims to community resources that can help them further.
  • We can assist victims and families with preparing and delivering Victim Impact Statements in court at sentencing hearings.
  • We help to obtain court-ordered restitution from offenders.
  • Assisting qualified victims with applications to the State's Victims of Crime Program through the California Victim Compensation Board.
  • We can accompany victims and witnesses to court for support and keep them informed on updates at court hearings they are unable to attend.
  • Collaborating with other community agencies to provide optimal services to victims of violent crimes.
  • Provides a safe and secure environment for child victims of crimes to give their statements.


Witness Services

Our Victim/Witness Program also has services that it provides to witnesses of violent crimes. Some of the services that we provide are:    

  • We can accompany witnesses to court and if they want sit next to them on the witness stand for extra support.
  • We will notify witnesses as the case progresses of the status and final disposition of the case.
  • We will provide guidance and refer witnesses to outside agencies that can provide the assistance the witness requires.
  • We will provide crisis intervention for witnesses in the form of counseling, reassurance, and support following the crime.
  • We will explain the criminal justice system and individualize it to that particular case.
  • We can arrange for a tour of the court before the witness testifies to try and make them more comfortable with the process.

WHEN TO CALL US  

Phone Number: (209) 385-7385                           


We can provide many different resources and we want victims to utilize all of the options that they need. and that apply to them. We want you to call us if...

  • You need assistance in applying for financial assistance through the California Victims Compensation Board (CalVCB).
  • You need to verify a court date or information on previous court appearances.
  • You would like an explanation of court procedures or a tour of the courtroom before you testify.
  • You need assistance in preparing a Victim Impact Statement.
  • You need someone to speak with your employer about you appearing as a witness.
  • You received crime-related threats or harassment.
  • You would like someone to escort you to court.
  • You need a referral to social service agencies that provide emergency financial, medical or psychological assistance to crime victims.
  • You need someone to talk to regarding a specific crime.
  • You have any other questions regarding your case.
  

Merced County 2222 M Street Merced, CA 9543 Ph. (209) 385-7434 Toll Free (800) 226-6452
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