View Site in:

Text Resize

Victims' Rights & Guidelines

Crime Victims' Rights

Victims have certain rights in the criminal justice system. Depending upon the type and disposition of the case, a victim may be entitled to:

  • Protection from threats, physical injury, or other types of intimidation, with the option of an  Order of Protection from the court.
  • Protection from employer dismissal or penalties for attendance at a criminal action as long as the employer is notified at least one day in advance.  Wages, however, may be withheld for time spent attending the criminal action.
  • Financial compensation from the New York State Office of Victim Services.
  • Retrieve stolen property held as evidence unless there is a compelling reason for retaining it.
  • Make a statement to the Department of Probation for consideration by the judge when determining the defendant's sentence.
  • Request restitution as part of a defendant's sentence.
  • Make an oral statement to the court at the defendant's sentencing.
  • Notification of the final disposition of the case.
  • Make a written or oral statement to the New York State Division of Parole for consideration when determining whether to parole an inmate from a state correctional facility.
  • Receive an automated and/or written notification of the release of an inmate from a city or state correctional facility.

New York State Office of Victim Services

The New York State Office of Victim Services is a state agency responsible for compensating victims of crime for certain un-reimbursed losses incurred as a result of their victimization.  The agency was established in 1966.

Compensation awards are made for losses that are not covered by insurance benefits.  Examples of compensation benefits covered by the Office of Victim Services are medical expenses, loss of earnings or support, burial expenses, counseling expenses, repair or replacement of essential personal property, the cost of residing at or utilizing the services of a domestic violence shelter, and crime scene cleanup expenses.  Rules and regulations governing compensation, eligibility, claims, awards, appeals, etc., are stipulated in Executive Law, Article 22.

For more information, forms, and publications, please access the New York State Office of Victim Services website or the following brochure (en Español).

The New York County District Attorney’s Witness Aid Services Unit assists victims in filing compensation claims through the Office of Victim Services.

Victim Notification of Inmate’s Release

The Victim Information & Notification Everyday system (VINE) is a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week automated service which provides information and release notifications to victims for inmates in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction and the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Victims can register to be notified by phone or e-mail of an offender’s release from incarceration. VINE’s toll-free telephone number for both the City and State system is 1-888-VINE4NY (846-3469).

The following link will direct you to the VINE website for more information and to register for inmate release notifications -  The New York County District Attorney’s Witness Aid Services Unit assists victims in registering for inmate release notifications through the VINE system.  Please refer to the unit’s brochure for additional information.

Important Guidelines for Victims

  • Criminal cases are prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office on behalf of the People of the State of New York. Victims, therefore, do not need their own attorney.
  • As a crime victim, you are a witness in the prosecution of your case.
  • As a witness for the State, a victim has certain responsibilities to assist with the prosecution of a criminal case.  These responsibilities may include signing an affidavit and providing testimony to a grand jury and at trial.
  • A victim is under no obligation to speak about the facts of the case with anyone other than a representative of the District Attorney's Office.  If someone contacts you concerning the case, make sure you ask that person to identify him or herself.
  • If you receive a subpoena, you must appear in court as specified by that subpoena.
  • When you answer a question, you must tell the truth.
  • If others advise you not to appear in court, or if you are threatened or harassed, immediately contact the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case or the Witness Aid Services Unit at 212-335-9040

Click here for the Witness Aid Services Unit's brochure