AARDVARC - An Abuse Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection. Georgia directory of resources for victims of crimes including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child abuse. Information, referrals, publications and assistance for victims.
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- Georgia Victim Bill of Rights
- Victim Rights During Parole or Probation
- Victim Compensation
- Georgia Victim Services Directory (PDF)
Georgia Victim Bill of Rights
Throughout history countless innocent citizens have been victimized by time with little recognition of their individual rights or need for special assistance. Simultaneously, the criminal justice system has often been criticized for giving an appearance of protecting the rights of the accused at the expense of these victims. In response, efforts aimed at providing direct services to innocent victims have become increasingly prevalent throughout the country over the past several years. The primary objectives of these initiatives have been to improve the treatment of victims by assisting them in the difficult process of recovering from the criminal act, and to support and facilitate them as their cases proceed through the criminal justice process.
Research has shown that as the needs of victims are recognized and addressed, the hearing process is accelerated allowing the victim greater potential to resume normal life. To date, the majority of these services have been directed toward individual victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, impaired driving crashes, elder abuse and other criminal acts. Over the past ten years the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has worked closely with criminal justice practitioners and others interested in victims issues in order to identify, develop, implement and expand fundamental services to innocent victims statewide. The progress recognized thus far has been possible due to the collective commitment of these dedicated professionals and is limited only by a lack of funding and other needed resources.
CRIME VICTIMS BILL OF RIGHTS
The victimization must be the result of at least one of the following types or categories of offenses:
- Assault and Battery
- Kidnapping, False Imprisonment, and Related Offenses
- Reckless Conduct
- Cruelty To Children
- Feticide (intentional destruction of a human fetus)
- Sexual Offenses
- Armed Robbery
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child
- Homicide by Vehicle
- Feticide by Vehicle
- Serious Injury by Vehicle
The Victim: O.C.G.A Sec. 17-17-3(4)
The victim must provide to the law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, and custodial authority a current phone number, other than one for a pager or cellular phone in order to be emitted to notification of the accused's arrest of the accused's release from custody; and of any judicial proceeding where the release of the accused will be considered. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17 1&5(a) and (b).
The victim is also required to provide the investigating agency with a current address if he or she desires to be notified of specified actions in a criminal case against the accused. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-14(a)(l).
The victim must make a request in writing to the prosecuting attorney in order to receive prompt notification of any scheduled court proceedings, such as, pretrial hearings, arraignment, motion hearings, trial, sentencing, appellate review, and post-conviction relief, etc., and notice of any changes to that schedule. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17 8(b).
The victim must also make a request in writing to the prosecuting attorney in order to be notified of the following:
- Whether the accused has filed a motion for a new trial;
- Whether the accused has filed an appeal of his or her conviction;
- Whether the accused has been released first on bail or their own recognizance pending the disposition of the above described motion or appeal;
- The time and place of any appellate court proceedings relating to this motion or appeal and any changes in the time and place of those proceedings; 0. C.G.A. Sec. 17-I 7-l 2(a).
The victim is required to provide the prosecuting attorney with a current address and telephone number until final disposition or completion of the appellate and post conviction process, whichever occurs later. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-l 7-l 4(a)(2).
When directed by the prosecuting attorney, the victim is required to provide the Georgia Department of Corrections with a current address and telephone number when the state has custody of the accused. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-14(a)(3).
When directed by the prosecuting attorney, the victim is required to provide a sheriff, who has custody of the accused for purposes of pretrial, trial, or post conviction proceeding, with a current address and telephone number O.C.G.A. Sec. 17017-14(a)(3).
When directed by the prosecuting attorney, the victim is required to provide any non state county correctional facility with a current address and telephone number when the defendant is sentenced to serve time in the facility. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-l 7-14(a)(3).
The victim is also required to provide the State Board of Pardons and Paroles with a current address and telephone number. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-14(a)(4).
The victim has the option to waive any of the information or notification or other obligations specified under the Crime Victims Bill of Rights. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-15(e).
A victim has the right to designate a spouse, adult child, parent, sibling, or grandparent to act on behalf of him or her, when that person is physically unable to personally assume the rights under this law. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-174.
The Judicial System
It is the general consensus of many experts in the field of criminal justice that the system consists of three primary components which are comprised of law enforcement, courts and corrections. As a case against an accused travels through these divisions the Crime Victims Bill of Rights places upon those state and local agencies charged with administering justice certain requirements in order to address recognized needs of crime victims.
In general, after a victimization, and upon initial contact with a victim, all law enforcement and court personnel must advise him or her:
- That it is possible that the accused may be released from custody prior to trial;
- That he or she has certain rights during various stages during the criminal justice process;
- That additional information about these stages can be obtained by contacting the pertinent state and/or local agency involved, or by contacting the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council at (404) 559- 4949/(404) 559-4177 TDD;
- That he or she may have available to them monetary compensation for certain out-of-pocket losses incurred as a result of their victimization from the State Crime Victims Emergency Fund, which is administered by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council;
- That he or she may have available to them community based victim service programs and that more information may be obtained by contacting the Governors Victim Assistance Helpline at (800) 338- 5745; and
- That he or she must meet any applicable aforementioned obligations, e.g., providing a current telephone number and address in order to be contacted. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-5.
If an arrest of an accused is made, the arresting law enforcement agency must inform the investigating agency of this fact. Upon receipt of this information the investigating law enforcement agency must then promptly notify the victim of such action. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-6.
During the prosecution phase of the case, the prosecuting attorney has many requirements to keep a victim informed. These include the following, provided the crime victim has supplied all appropriate information.
Upon initial contact with a victim the prosecuting attorney must explain the procedural steps in processing a criminal case; inform the victim of his or her rights under the law; suggest certain procedures a victim may utilize if he or she is being subjected to threats or intimidation; and provide telephone numbers of contact persons at both the prosecuting attorney's office and custodial authority. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-5(a).
Additional Judicial System Responsibilities
Notify the victim prior to any proceeding in which the release of the accused will be considered, O.C.G.A. Set 17-17-7(c).
Offer the victim the opportunity to express his or her opinion on the release of the accused pending a judicial proceeding. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-7(a).
Upon a court granting pretrial release or bond and receipt of a written complaint from the crime victim, the prosecuting attorney may move the court to revoke such action. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17 17- 7(f).
The prosecuting attorney shall ensure the victim will wait during judicial proceedings in an area separate from the accused and his or her relatives, friends, and witnesses. If such an area is not practical or unavailable, the prosecuting attorney shall upon request by the victim request that the court minimize such contact. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-9.
The court, under certain conditions, may order that the victim's current address, telephone number, or place of employment not be released to the defendant by anyone, including defense counsel. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-10.
The prosecuting attorney must offer the victim the opportunity to express his or her opinion regarding the disposition of a case if it is a product of a plea bargain or it involves the accused's participation in 8 pretrial or post trial diversion program. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-17-11.
The prosecuting attorney must direct the victim regarding which custodial authority he or she must provide a current telephone number and address.
Once an accused is arrested, he or she may be released before trial. If this is not the case the defendant remains in a detention facility while awaiting and during trial. Upon conviction, the offender may be sentenced from a variety of alternatives which may require that he or she be incarcerated. Even if the offender is incarcerated, he or she may be paroled before the time period for confinement has lapsed. Throughout these stages a victim also has certain rights that can be invoked. These include:
If the custodial authority is a county or municipal jail it must provide prompt notification by making a telephone call to the number supplied by the victim informing him or her of the release of an accused. O.C.G.A. Sec. 97-17-7(e)(l).
If the custodial authority is a state or county correctional facility, all current state laws apply regarding notification. O.C.G.A. Sec. 17-l 7- 8(e)(2).
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles must provide the victim with twenty (20) days advance notification whenever it considers making a decision to grant parole or any other clemency action of more than sixty (60) days and allow the victim to file a written objection to such action. O.C.G.A. Sec.17-l 7-l 3.
Georgia Victim Rights During Parole or Probation Processes
The Parole Board wants all victims to know their parole system rights: to give the Board views about the crime and the criminal, to find out what the Board is doing on the case, and, upon request, to be notified of any planned parole.
Board Services to Crime Victims
After an offender enters the prison system, the victim or their family members can contact the Parole Board to give views and information about the case, find out what the Board is doing on the case, and request notification of any parole. Such contacts are welcome an kept confidential.
The best way to contact the Board is to write a letter to the Victim Services Director. The writer can object to future parole and say why. Or the writer can simply ask to be notified before any final parole decision is made.
The Board will make the letter a permanent and confidential part of its case file on the inmate. Then if the Board ever plans to grant parole, it will write the correspondent and give that person the chance to express his or her view again.
Victims or their survivors may complete and submit the statement on-line or they can download it and mail it to the address found at the end of this web page. Forms are also available through the local prosecutor or by writing or calling the Parole Board.
Because the Board makes a tentative decision on a non-life inmate early in the sentence, any letter or statement should be sent to the Board soon after the inmate enters the prison system.
The Board appreciates the help it receives from public and private agencies in informing victims about their rights. This assistance comes from victim service providers in the offices of prosecutors, law enforcement, the Department of Family and Children Services, rape crisis centers, county health centers, domestic violence shelters, and victim Services and support organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Board Members especially appreciate views and information sent to the Victim Services Office by those service providers.
The Board information sheets for victims and law enforcement personnel have been distributed widely throughout Georgia and are available from the Victim Services Office.
Persons wishing further information may write, call, or E- mail the office of victim services. If a victim or victim's family member wishes to meet with a Board representative about a case, the person can come to the Board's central office on any workday between 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary. The Parole Board is firmly committed to working with victims and all private citizens to establish a more responsive, accountable, and effective criminal justice system. For further information contact:
Victim Services Office
State Board of Pardons and Paroles
2 M.L. King, Jr. Drive, S.E.
Suite 458, East Tower
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Georgia Restitution Orders
The Board of Pardons and Paroles began collecting court-ordered restitution in May 1993. The parole officer determines a reasonable monthly payment amount for the parolee and monitors his regular payments. Restitution monies are deposited with the Parole Board until the parolee discharges from parole or pays the amount in full. The entire amount is then transferred to the appropriate county probation office to be disbursed to the victim(s).
The Board also reserves the right to order restitution on its own, even if the courts have not issued a special condition.
For more information on restitution, check your local office
of the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Georgia Crime Victim Compensation: 1-800-547-0060
What is Crime Victims Compensation?
Crime Victims Compensation assists eligible victims of violent crime with expenses (listed below) that are incurred due to the victimization. Crime Victims Compensation is a payer of last resort and does not cover expenses that have been covered by a third party payer (insurance, sick leave, worker's compensation, etc.). The total award amount can not exceed $25,000 and the categorical caps are as follows:
---$5,000 for crimes occurring prior to 05/13/02
---$10,000 for crimes occurring between 05/13/02 - 06/30/02
---$15,000 for crimes occurring on or after 07/01/02
---$2,500 for crimes occurring prior to 05/13/02
---$3,000 for crimes occurring on or after 05/13/02
Funeral Expenses: $3,000
---$5,000 for crimes occurring prior to 05/13/02
---$10,000 for crimes occurring on or after 05/13/02
Crime Scene Clean-up: $1,500 (crimes occurring on or after 05/13/02)
Who is eligible for Victims Compensation?
Innocent victims who have been physically injured in a violent crime. Including but not limited to victims of:
- Child Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Domestic/Family Violence
- DUI Crash Victims
- Vehicular Homocide
- Hit and Run
- Serious Injury by Vehicle
Some other eligibility requirements include:
The crime being reported to proper government authorities (i.e. law enforcement, child protective services, the courts, etc.) within 72 hours. The 72 hours may be waived for good cause shown.
The claim must be filed within 1 year of the crime.
Applications received 2 years after the crime cannot be considered for compensation.
Victims of domestic violence may be eligible for loss of support.
A parent of a child victim may be eligible for lost wages, to compensate for medical time spent off of work with the child.
A Criminal History will be provided and analyzed on all victims 18 years and older.
Who is not eligible?
- Victims of property crime
- Victims who consent, provoke, or incite the crime committed against them
- Victims who were participating in a criminal act
- Victims who do not report the crime to law enforcement officials within 72 hours
Victims/claimants are required to exhaust funds from other sources such as health insurance, car insurance, social security, annual/sick leave pay, disability insurance, worker compensation, unemployment compensation or funds from other government agencies.
Download Victims Compensation Application (PDF)
Printt, complete and mail to:
Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program
503 Oak Place, Suite 540
Atlanta, Georgia 30349
1-800-547-0060 (Bilingual & translation available)
Questions concerning the Compensation Program? Please contact the following Staff Members:
Shawanda Reynolds Cobb, Division Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shennill L. Gray, Claims Coordinator, email@example.com