What is a Victim of Crime Advocate?
Victim advocates are trained professionals that support victims of crime by providing victims with information, emotional support, and assistance finding resources and filling out paperwork.
Advocates assist victims through court proceedings and may also contact organizations to get resources or information for victims.
Advocates offer victims information about the different options available to them and support victims' decision-making through safety planning.
Advocates do not tell victims what to do. Advocates are committed to maintaining the highest possible levels of confidentiality in their communications with victims.
Crime in our communities touches all of us. When one person is victimized, we all as a community suffer. If you are not personally a victim of crime, then you know a relative, friend, or neighbor who is.
Being a victim of, or a witness to, crime can be frightening experience. You often feel violated by the intrusion into your life and are left with feelings of anger and pain.
If you or anyone you know is going through victimization due to a crime, we are here to help.
How Advocates Can Help
To assist victims of crime during their involvement with the criminal justice system, we provide the following services:
- Crisis counseling
- Individual counseling
- Emotional support
- Safety planning
- Possible emergency financial assistance
- Criminal justice support/ advocacy in State, Tribal, and Federal Court
- Assistance in filing personal protection orders
- Assistance in filing for restitution
- Assistance in filing for victim compensation
- Claims with the State of Michigan
- Referrals for community resources; food, clothing banks and emergency shelter
- Updates on criminal case information
- Case Management
Crime Victim Rights
The Crime Victims' Rights Act of 1985 has given crime victims the right to:
- be treated throughout the criminal justice process with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy
- timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused
- receive an explanation of court procedures
- reasonable protection from the accused throughout the criminal justice process, including having a waiting area separate from the defendant and the defendant's relatives and witnesses (if practical), and to receive an explanation of procedures to follow if threatened or intimidated by the defendant
- be free from threats or acts of discharge from your employer because you are subpoenaed or requested by the Prosecuting Attorney to testify in court
- consult with the Prosecuting Attorney to give your views about the disposition of the case
- notice of:
- emergency and medical services [from the investigating police agency]
- the name of the person in the Prosecutor's Office with information about your case;
- all scheduled court proceedings, including sentencing;
- the defendant's release on bond or escape from custody while awaiting trial;
- the address and telephone number of the probation department that is preparing the pre-sentence investigation report, if one is ordered by the Judge;
- victims compensation benefits and the address of the Crime Victim Services Commission, and an explanation of eligibility requirements for compensation funds
- attend trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend (except possible sequestration during a trial before you testify)
- confer with the prosecution before trial and before the jury is selected
- make an oral statement to a pre-sentence investigator, or to have a written impact statement included in the pre-sentence report
- make an oral or written statement to the court at sentencing. [NOTE: Your oral or written statement at sentencing is important! Only you can really explain the impact of the crime upon your life.]
- full restitution
- restitution should include the reasonably expected costs of medical & psychological treatment, physical therapy and homemaking/child care
- if homemaking or child care is provided without cost, restitution should be ordered for the costs that would have been incurred without the volunteer service
- restitution may include the cost of a lost tax deduction due to a dependent's death
- triple restitution may be ordered for death or serious impairment of a bodily function
- if defendant requests modification of method of paying restitution, the court must consider whether it will impose a manifest hardship on the victim
- parents of a juvenile tried as an adult can be ordered to pay restitution
- wage assignment may be ordered for every employed defendant
- if probation officer determines that restitution is not being paid, he/she must notify the court or petition for a probation violation
- court fees cannot be imposed for taking action to enforce restitution
- restitution unclaimed for two years will be placed in the crime victim rights fund, after which a victim may make a claim for his/her restitution at any time
- a priority is established for payment of victim fees, restitution, fines and costs
- information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused
- an explanation of the appeal process, to be advised if the defendant has been released on an appeal bond, to be advised of the time and place of appellate court proceedings, and to be advised of the result of an appeal
- prompt return of your property taken during an investigation, except as otherwise provided by the law
Program provided by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. This project is supported by Grant No. 20096 -19V14 awarded to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe by the Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission. The agreement award of $ 157,895, comes from the Federal Crime Victims Fund, established by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 administered by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe provides the required match valued at $ 7,895.