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Victim Witness Assistance Program

The primary investigative mission of the U.S. Secret Service is to detect and arrest those that engage in crimes that undermine the integrity of U.S. financial and payment systems. The U.S. Secret Service accomplishes this mission by working together with victims and witnesses of these crimes and attorneys who prosecute these crimes. 

Your Rights

As a federal crime victim, you have the following rights:

  • The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
  • The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
  • The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
  • The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
  • The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case. 
  • The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
  • The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  • The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.
  • The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.
  • The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice.

Information Sharing 

Upon request, during the investigation and prosecution of a federal crime, a victim may receive information regarding the status of the investigation of the crime, to the extent that it will not interfere with the investigation. This includes information such as when the charges are filed, the arrest, release or detention status of the suspected offender, scheduling of court proceedings, acceptance of plea, trial verdict, and sentencing. 
A federal crime victim may also request information and/or referral for available services according to a specific need. This referral may include, but not be limited to, counseling, medical assistance, emergency shelter, transportation, relocation, or information about State Crime Compensation. 

State Programs 

The Crime Victims Fund (the Fund) was established by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 and serves as a major funding source for victim services throughout the country. The Fund provides financial support to state crime victim compensation programs, which provide assistance to victims of both Federal and State crimes. Every state in the country, as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico offers crime victim compensation benefits. In general, the costs of recovering from violent crime are covered, including medical care, counseling, lost wages if an injury prevents a victim from working, and funerals and lost support in homicides. 

Visit the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Board for more information. 

Additional Resources