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- Rights of Victims of Crime in Connecticut
- Rights of Notification
- Rights to Court Proceedings
- Right to Restitution and Compensation
- Rights to Records & Test Results
- Rights in Family Violence Matters
- Employment Issues for Victims
- Restitution For Crime Victims
- Connecticut Victim Compensation Program
- Community Based Victim Services
- Directory of Court-Based Victim Advocates (PDF)
- Statute of Limitations
Connecticut Victim Rights and Services: 800-822-8428
CONSTITUTION of the STATE of CONNECTICUT
Article I, Section 8(b) - Rights of Victims of Crime
In all criminal prosecutions, a victim, as the General Assembly may define by law, shall have the following rights:
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to timely disposition of the case following arrest of the accused, provided no right of the accused is abridged;
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to notification of court proceedings;
- The right to attend the trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend, unless such person is to testify and the court determines that such testimony would be materially affected if such person hears other testimony;
- The right to communicate with the prosecution;
- The right to object to or support any plea agreement entered into by the accused and the prosecution and to make a statement to the court prior to the acceptance by the court of the plea of guilty or nolo contendere by the accused;
- The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing;
- The right to restitution which shall be enforceable in the same manner as any other cause of action or as otherwise provided by law;
- The right to information about the arrest, conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused.
The General Assembly shall provide by law for the enforcement of this subsection. Nothing in this subsection or in any law enacted pursuant to this subsection shall be construed as creating a basis for vacating a conviction or ground for appellate relief in any criminal case.
Connecticut Notification Rights
Officer at crime scene shall assist victim and give victim a list of rights and resources (C.G.S. §54-222a)
State attorney shall notify victim, upon request, of: arrest, arraignment, release, guilty plea, trial and sentencing of defendant(C.G.S. §51-286e)
State attorney shall notify family of homicide victim of arraignment date, time, place and contact person for case status (C.G.S. §51-286d)
The defendant shall notify victim of application for accelerated pretrial rehabilitation; victim has right to be heard on application (C.G.S. §54-56e)
The defendant shall notify victim of application for suspension of prosecution for alcohol/drug dependency treatment; victim has right to testify at hearing (C.G.S. §17a-696)
Court shall notify victim if defendant requested assignment to family violence education program; where possible, give victim the opportunity to be heard (C.G.S. §46b-38c(g))
Psychiatric Security Review Board shall try to notify victim of hearings, orders or escapes of person found not guilty due to mental disease or defect; victim may appear at court or board hearings (C.G.S. §17a-581, C.G.S. §7a-596, C.G.S. §7a-601)
Victim may make a confidential request that the Office of Victim Services send notification when inmate applies for sentence reduction or release; also when inmate is scheduled to be released from a correctional facility (C.G.S. §54-228, C.G.S. §54-230)
Victim may make a statement at Board of Pardons session or submit a written statement; Board shall notify Office of Victim Services of any Board action (C.G.S. §18-27a)
Department of Correction shall notify victim requesting it when inmates are released from correctional facilities (C.G.S. §18-81e)
Victim or legal representative may be notified if a case was dismissed; defendant identity shall not be released unless civil action requires it (C.G.S. §54-142c)
Prosecuting authority shall attempt to notify victim if defendant in inpatient treatment fails to return after release for work, therapy or other reason (C.G.S. §54-56d(1))
Immediate family of deceased crime victim may, whenever a state attorney declines to criminally prosecute any person in connection with the death, may file a written complaint with the Chief State Attorneys Office or the Criminal Justice Commission. Within 30 days of receipt of the written request, the Chief State Attorney or Chairperson of the Criminal Justice Commission must respond in writing to the complaint and inform the complainant of the action, if any, the Chief State Attorney or Chairperson has taken or intends to take concerning the matter (P.A. 01-211(17)).
Connecticut Rights in Court Proceedings
When a pre-sentence investigation required, probation officer shall question the victim or immediate family about his/her attitude and damages suffered (C.G.S. §54-91a).
Before sentencing hearing or accepting a plea, the court shall question victims of certain felonies, or their representative or immediate family member to make oral or written statement about effects of the crime and appropriateness of any penalty. Also have right to notification of date, time and place of sentencing and hearing, prior to acceptance, of any proceeding concerning acceptance of plea agreement (C.G.S. §54-91c).
Victim, his/her legal representative or an immediate family member of a deceased victim may submit written statement or attend hearing, to make a statement about proposed reduced sentence or type of discharge (C.G.S. §53a-39).
Parole board panel considering release, after administrative review, shall conduct hearing upon victim request (C.G.S. §54-125b).
Certain crime victims may make a statement in writing or in person to Board of Parole panel concerning parole terms or conditions and whether parole should be granted (C.G.S. §54-126a).
Homicide victim representative can attend trial or any prosecution proceeding unless judge removes representative (C.G.S. §54-85c).
Victim or representative can only be excluded from delinquency hearings if judge orders it (C.G.S. §46b-122).
Before disposition of a case involving a convicted child, the probation officer must ask victim about damages suffered and attitude (C.G.S. §46b-134).
Authorized representative or victim of alleged delinquent conduct may make statement to court on case disposition (C.G.S. §46b-138b).
Court may order testimony of child victim be recorded electronically outside the courtroom (C.G.S. §54-86g).
Any child victim of assault, sexual assault or abuse shall be competent to testify without prior qualification (C.G.S. §54-86h).
No one may require nor request victim of sexual assault take a polygraph exam (C.G.S. §54-86j)
Rights to Restitution and Compensation
Crime victims in Connecticut have a right to seek restitution from the offender (C.G.S. § 53a-28).
Victim with personal injury, or family of homicide victim, may apply to Office of Victim Services for compensation of expenses incurred including medical services and loss of earning power (C.G.S. §54-209, C.G.S. §54-210, C.G.S. §54-211).
Family members and victim of child abuse, sexual assault and homicide may obtain restitution services, such as medical, psychiatric, psychological, social and rehabilitative services (C.G.S. §54-216).
Court may order convicted delinquent or parents/guardian to make restitution to victim of offense (C.G.S. §46b-140).
Victim may sue for profits defendant might receive from media or other published dramatization of the violent crime (C.G.S. §54-218)
Victim can ask court to return personal property used to investigate crime [C.G.S. §54-36a, C.G.S. §54-203(b)(7)(E)].
Rights to Access to Records & Test Results
Patient found not guilty of homicide because of mental disease or defect does not have to give consent to release of communications with psychologist, for victim to use in civil action (C.G.S. §52-146c, C.G.S. §52-146f).
Victim can access juvenile case record of delinquency to same extent as regular criminal record [C.G.S. §46b-124(e)].
Victim advocate appointed by court may request certain records on youthful offender (C.G.S. §54-761).
Court not required to divulge victim name, address or telephone number during court proceedings of sexual assault and related crimes (C.G.S. §54-86d).
Name and address of victim sexual assault, injury or risk of injury, impairing of morals disclosed only upon court order (C.G.S. §54-86e).
Victim statements to a sexual assault or domestic violence counselor, as defined by statute, is confidential and not admissible in court unless victim waives this right (C.G.S. §52-146k).
Present or prior sexual conduct of a victim cannot be used as evidence in trial unless, after a hearing, court decides it is relevant (C.G.S. §54-86f).
If sexual assault victim requests, court may order accused be tested for HIV or examined for venereal disease and may disclose results to victim (C.G.S. §54-102a).
If sexual assault victim requests, court will order convicted person be HIV tested and results disclosed to victim (C.G.S. §54-102b).
Rights in Family Violence Matters
Police officers shall assist victim at scene of family violence incident, with obtaining medical treatment, options for arrest, and services information. If no cause for arrest, officer will stay until further violence seems unlikely (C.G.S. §46b-38b).
Victim of assault by former spouse, family or household member may request arrest, protective order or restraining order (C.G.S. § 54-203(b)(7)(1); C.G.S. §46b-38c).
Courts may issue protective orders for family violence victim (C.G.S. §46b-38c).
Upon arrest of stalker, court may issue protective order (C.G.S. §54-1k).
Court may issue standing criminal restraining order for person convicted of assault or sexual assault against household member (C.G.S. §53a-40e).
Family Violence Intervention Unit available to victim and offender in each geographical area of Superior Court, when judge or prosecutors makes referral (C.G.S. §46b-38c).
Employment Issues for Victims
§ 54-85b. Employer not to discharge employee appearing as witness. Penalty. Action for damages and reinstatement
(A) An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, penalize or threaten or otherwise coerce an employee with respect thereto, because (1) the employee obeys a legal subpoena to appear before any court of this state as a witness in any criminal proceeding, (2) the employee attends a court proceeding or participates in a police investigation related to a criminal case in which the employee is a crime victim, (3) a restraining order has been issued on behalf of the employee pursuant to section 46b-15, as amended, or (4) a protective order has been issued on behalf of the employee by a court of this state or by a court of another state, provided if issued by a court of another state, the protective order shall be registered in this state pursuant to section 46b-15a. For purposes of this section, crime victim means an employee who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of a crime or an employee who is an immediate family member or guardian of (A) a person who suffers such harm and is a minor, physically disabled, as defined in section 46a-51, as amended, or incompetent, or (B) a homicide victim.
(B) Any employer who violates subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of this section shall be guilty of criminal contempt and shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.
(C) If an employer discharges, penalizes or threatens or otherwise coerces an employee in violation of subsection (a) of this section, the employee, not later than ninety days from the occurrence of such action, may bring a civil action for damages and for an order requiring reinstatement of the employee or otherwise rescinding such action. If the employee prevails, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney fee to be fixed by the court.
(1981, P.A. 81-186; 2002, P.A. 02-136, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2002.)
Connecticut Restitution for Victims
Restitution is payment by the offender to the victim to cover some or all of the costs associated with a crime. It is ordered by a judge and usually paid through the Court Support Services Division, Connecticut Judicial Branch. To obtain restitution in a criminal court case, contact the Prosecutor or the OVS Victim Services Advocate.
The Office of Victim Services, Connecticut Judicial Branch, is the lead agency established to provide services to to victims of violent crime. OVS is located in Plainville, Connecticut and can be reached by calling
Connecticut Crime Victim Compensation Program: 888-286-7347
The Office of Victim Services (OVS), located within the Judicial Department, administers crime victim compensation. It accepts applications for compensation, provides applicants with a list of victims rights and programs, and determines eligibility.
Established in 1978, the crime victim compensation law authorizes OVS to compensate eligible crime victims for reasonable and necessary expenses, loss of earning power, monetary losses, and other loss resulting from death or injury. OVS may compensate the immediate family members of a deceased or minor victim. Maximum awards are $15,000 for personal injuries and $25,000 for death. Eligible victims must have been injured or killed as a result of a crime, including specified motor vehicle offenses and crimes committed by juveniles.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund receives an annual appropriation of about $1.9 million, which comes primarily from costs imposed in criminal prosecutions. Additional money may come from the person directly responsible for criminal injuries or death to the victim.
The crime victim compensation law is codified at CGS §§ 54-204 to -218, as amended by PA 01-211, which the governor has yet to sign. The Judicial Department website, www.Jud.state.ct.us
, has other information on the subject, including the answers to frequently asked questions.
Who May Apply
Victims are eligible for compensation if they were injured or killed as a result of (1) their attempt to prevent crime, aid police, or apprehend suspects; (2) attempts or actual commissions of crime by another person; (3) international terrorism; or (4) another person violating enumerated motor vehicle offenses. CRIME means felonies, misdemeanors, certain motor vehicle offenses, and crime committed by juveniles. If the victim is deceased, his spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, or spousal parents may apply for compensation. A parent, grandparent, or sibling may apply for a minor victim.
The above-mentioned crimes may have been committed (1) within the state; (2) outside of the state but within the U.S., provided the victim was a state resident at the time of injury or death and the victim is not eligible for compensation in the state where the crime occurred; or (3) outside the U.S., provided the applicant is a victim of international terrorism and was a state resident at the time of injury or death.
Connecticut Victim Assistance Application (PDF)
The victim or family member must submit an application and a physician report before OVS or, on review, a victim compensation commissioner makes any determination. After reviewing this report, OVS or the compensation commissioner may request that an impartial expert examine the injured victim or determine the cause of death.
Victims (or their families) must normally submit an application within two years after the date of the injury or death. And they must report the incident that give rise to it to the police within five days of its occurrence or within five days of the time a report could reasonably have been made. But the law allows a waiver of the time limitation.
Any applicant who suffers physical, emotional, or psychological injuries as a result of the injury or death may apply for a waiver within six years after the date of the injury or death. And a minor who failed to apply for compensation through no fault of his own may apply for a waiver up to age 20 or within seven years after injury or death, whichever is sooner. The office may grant the waiver if it finds such physical, emotional, or psychological injuries or innocence. PA 00-110 established a brief waiver for dependents of crime victims, which expired on August 24, 2000. Applications are confidential.
OVS must review each application, make a written determination regarding applicant eligibility, and notify the applicant of its decision. Before making a determination, the office may administer oaths or affirmations or issue subpoenas signed by a commissioner. The law allows a commissioner to seek court enforcement of any subpoena.
An applicant may file a request with the office to have the determination reviewed by a commissioner, who can hold hearings and take testimony.
The decision maker must consider all relevant circumstances, including provocation, consent, or other behavior by the victim that contributed to his injury or death. Compensation is not dependent upon anyone being prosecuted or convicted, however, a prosecutor may ask OVS to delay making a final decision until after the person responsible for the injury or death is prosecuted.
Any person aggrieved by a commission determination may appeal the decision to Superior Court. The appeal must be filed within 30 days after the commission order or decision is mailed or personally delivered. A victim compensation commissioner may, as part of any order, determine and allow attorney's fees up to 15% of the compensation amount. This fee must be from the compensation award. Attorneys cannot contract for or receive any larger sum than that allowed.
Expenses Covered By Compensation
The office, or on review, a commissioner may order compensation for:
1. expenses actually and reasonably incurred as a result of the personal injury or death of the victim,
2. loss of earning power as a result of total or partial incapacity of the victim,
3. pecuniary loss to the dependents of a deceased victim,
4. pecuniary loss to the dependents or relatives of a deceased victim because of their attendance at the criminal trial of the defendant charged with the death of the victim, and
5. any other loss resulting from the personal injury or death of the victim that is determined to be reasonable.
OVS does not award compensation for the first $100 of sustained injuries. The maximum award is $15,000 for personal injuries and $25,000 for death. When determining the compensation amount, OVS must consider any amount the applicant has or may receive from other sources, including worker compensation, insurance, and payments from state and municipal agencies.
OVS determines the manner of payment, which may be a lump sum or periodic. Under PA 01-211, An Act Concerning Crime Victims, OVS can use a portion of any award to make payments directly to health care providers who provided services to victim granted the award.
OVS may vacate any award that remains unclaimed 45 days after notice that it is available. The award is not subject to execution or attachment, except for expenses resulting from the injuries that were the basis for the claim.
The law prohibits compensation:
1. if the offender is unjustly enriched by the award;
2. if the injuries or death wholly or partially resulted from a crime he (the victim) committed;
3. for losses resulting from crimes against property or for pain and suffering;
4. for injuries or death resulting from crimes committed before January 1, 1979, and from motor vehicle-related offenses before July 1, 1985.
Community-Based Victim Services
The organizations listed below can help with direct services to crime victims:
Aetna Foundation/St. Francis Hospital Childrens Center
Support, advocacy, and education to child victims of sexual abuse and their parents.
Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut
Support services for secondary victims of child sexual assault during the assessment and treatment process.
Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut
Advocacy and crisis intervention for child and adolescent victims at the crime scene.
Child Guidance Clinic of Greater Waterbury
Counseling, support and advocacy for child victims of physical assault, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
City of Bridgeport Police Department
Law enforcement based assistance for victims of violent crime.
Clifford W. Beers Guidance Clinic
Children injured as a result of child sexual abuse, child victims/witnesses of domestic violence, adult victims of domestic violence, and adults molested as children.
Community Child Guidance Clinic of Manchester
Crisis intervention and counseling for child crime victims and their families.
Connecticut Childrens Medical Center
Comprehensive care to child victims of sexual and physical abuse.
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Enhanced statewide shelter-based crisis intervention, referral, and counseling services to victims of domestic violence. Family Violence Intervention Unit services for adult victims of domestic violence in local geographic area courts.
Connecticut Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations
Culturally and linguistically sensitive advocacy services for Bosnian, Albanian/Kosovo, Haitian, and Vietnamese languages.
Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services
Statewide rape crisis intervention and advocacy services to adult and child victims of sexual assault. Bi-lingual/bi-cultural Latino crisis intervention and advocacy services to adult and child victims of sexual assault at selected member centers.
Connecticut Womens Education and Legal Fund
Provides information, referral, and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of hate crimes.
Coordinating Council for Children In Crisis
Neighborhood based victim advocacy services, focusing on elderly, assault and robbery victims, and child witnesses of violent crimes.
Family Services Woodfield
Clinical and support services to victims of domestic violence.
Human Resources Agency of New Britain
Bi-lingual/bi-cultural advocacy and referral services for Polish crime victims in New Britain.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, CT State Organization
Statewide advocacy services, assistance, information and referrals for victims of impaired and drunk drivers.
New Britain General Hospital
Counseling and support services to adult victims of sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Salvation Army - Southeast
Advocacy and counseling for adult victims of assault and robbery, targeting elderly, low income and homeless populations.
Survivors of Homicide
Support, advocacy, and assistance for surviving family members of homicide victims.
Village for Families for Families and Children
Counseling and psycho-educational groups for family members of homicide victims. Counseling and support for victims of robbery and assault. Violence intervention program for children providing on-scene crisis response teams and clinical follow up.
Crisis intervention services for crime victims with mental illness/retardation.
Yale University School of Medicine Child Sexual Abuse Clinic
Support, advocacy, and education to child victims of sexual abuse and their parents.
Yale University School of Medicine Child Development Program
Advocacy and crisis intervention for child and adolescent victims at the crime scene.
Connecticut Statute of Limitations
A personal injury action must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. Connecticut has no statute that extends the limitations period in favor of minors.
Special Rules for Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Under Connecticut's special statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse or exploitation (Conn. Gen. Stats. 52-577d), survivors now have until the day before their 48th birthday to bring actions against the responsible party or parties. If you are even considering charges or a lawsuit against a perpetrator, we strongly suggest that you visit the website of Susan K. Smith, Attorney at Law
, who we believe is the most knowledgeable person around when it comes to this issue.