Crime Victim & Witness Rights

As a victim or witness of crime, you have certain rights under Virginia’s Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act. There are specific steps you must take to receive these rights (see below for a brief summary). For detailed information, obtain a copy of “An Informational Guide to Virginia’s Crime and Witness Rights Act” from your local victim-witness program, commonwealth’s attorney’s office, police department, sheriff’s office or the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

 The VCU Police Department’s Victim Witness Program is comprised of specially trained officers who may assist you in the navigation of these rights. 

As the victim of a crime, you may be entitled to:

  • Protection
  • Financial assistance
  • Social services, including the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund (crime victims’ compensation)
  • Address and telephone number confidentiality
  • Closed preliminary hearing or use of closed-circuit television
  • Separate waiting area during court proceedings if you were the victim of a sexual offense
  • The right to remain in the courtroom during criminal trial or proceeding

Assistance in:

  • Obtaining protection
  • Obtaining property held by law enforcement agencies
  • Receiving intercession services with your employer
  • Obtaining advance notice of court proceedings (see Step 2 below)
  • Receiving the services of an interpreter
  • Preparing a Victim Impact Statement
  • Seeking restitution

You may be notified of:

  • Changes in court dates (see Step 2 below)
  • Changes in the status of the defendant, if he/she is being held in a jail or a correctional facility (see Step 3 below)
  • The opportunity to prepare a written Victim Impact Statement prior to the sentencing of a defendant

As the witness of a crime, you may be entitled to:

  • Protection
  • Address and telephone number confidentiality
  • A separate waiting area during court proceedings

You may receive assistance in:

  • Obtaining protection
  • Receiving intercession services with your employer
  • Receiving the services of an interpreter

Steps You Need to Take to Receive Confidentiality, Notification or Release Information

  1. Confidentiality: To request confidentiality, you must file a Request for Confidentiality by Crime Victim Form (DC-301) with the magistrate, court, commonwealth’s attorney or law enforcement agency in the locality where the crime occurred.
  2. Court dates: You must give the commonwealth’s attorney your current name, address and telephone number, in writing, if you wish to be notified in advance of the scheduled court dates for preliminary hearings, trials, sentence hearings and other proceedings in your case.
  3. Virginia V.I.N.E. stands for Virginia Victim Information and Notification Everyday . The Virginia V.I.N.E. is an on-line resource that allows you to search for information regarding current custody status of inmates serving sentences in Virginia local and regional jails and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Local and regional jails will provide automated notification when an offender is released, transferred, or escapes. Virginia Department of Corrections will provide automated notification when a State sentenced offender is released, transferred, escapes, dies, or has a parole based event.

If you are the Victim of an offender held by the Department of Corrections and wish to register as the Victim on record, please contact the Virginia Department of Corrections Victim Service Unit. 1-800-467-4943 

The Virginia VINE Service is provided to you in an effort to help keep the public safe and informed. Do not depend solely on the VINE service for your protection. If you feel that you may be in immediate risk, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

This service is supported by the Virginia Department of Corrections, the Virginia Sheriffs' Association via funding from the Virginia Compensation Board that is managed by Virginia Center for Policing Innovation.

Click here to be directed to the Virginia V.I.N.E. Network