Victim & Witness Rights
What are my rights as a crime victim or witness?
If you are the victim of a crime, you may come in contact with the criminal justice system. As this process begins, you are entitled to certain rights under the Wisconsin statutes and Constitution which ensure that all victims and witnesses of crime are treated with dignity, respect, courtesy and sensitivity; and that the rights extended to victims and witnesses of crime are honored and protected by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges in a manner no less vigorous than the protections afforded criminal defendants. Learn more about these rights here.
What should I do if I think my victim or witness rights have been violated?
If you are unable to resolve the situation yourself, you have the right to contact the Victim Resource Center for further assistance and possible informal mediation.
The Victim Resource Center (VRC)
The VRC is a team of individuals housed in the Office of Crime Victim Services. They specialize in assisting victims of crime with questions and concerns regarding their crime victim rights. Services provided by the VRC include:
- Informal mediation to address potential victim rights violations.
- Help to victims in resolving problems with the justice system.
- Information on victim rights in Wisconsin.
- Referrals to resources for crime victims in need of additional services.
- Victim Appellate Notification Services (VANS) alerting crime victims to the outcome of criminal appeals.
The VRC does not provide legal advice. If you are looking for an attorney or legal services contact the Wisconsin Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service.
The VRC does not handle family court issues such as child custody, visitation, placement or child support. For assistance with family matters contact the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
For assistance, contact the VRC by calling the OCVS toll-free line and asking to be connected with the Victim Services Specialist.
The Crime Victim Rights Board
When the VRC is notified of an alleged victim/witness rights violation, they work with the parties involved to reach a resolution. This is known as informal mediation.
Once the informal mediation process is complete, a victim has the right to file a formal complaint with the Crime Victim Rights Board (CVRB). Learn more about the CVRB here.