If you were a victim of a crime, you have rights. These rights must be protected while the crime is being investigated and the suspects are charged.
These rights include:
- Fair treatment,
- Respect for your dignity and privacy,
- Notifications of the time, date, and place of all court proceedings, including cancellations,
- Talking to the prosecution,
- Talking in court when the accused person is sentenced,
- Getting information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused person,
- Protection from the accused person throughout the criminal process,
- Being at the trial and all other hearings when the accused person is present,
- Bringing a translator, advocate, or other support person to court with you, and
- Compensation for injury, loss, or damaged/stolen property.
To learn more and to apply for compensation, see the Illinois Attorney General's website.
Who is a victim of a crime?
A person is considered a victim of a crime if any of the following apply to them:
- A person killed or injured in Illinois by a crime of violence committed against them
- The spouse or parent of a person killed or injured in Illinois by a crime
- of violence against the victim
- A person killed or injured in Illinois while reasonably trying to
- help a victim of a crime of violence
- A person killed or injured in Illinois while helping the police catch a person who has committed a crime of violence, or prevent that crime, after the police asked for that help
- A person who personally saw a violent crime happen
- A person who will be called as a witness by the prosecution to prove to the jury that the defendant committed the crime
- A dead person whose body is dismembered or whose remains are desecrated as the result of a crime of violence
Witnesses of crime
If you saw a crime happen, and have been asked to testify in court for the State of Illinois, you are a witness, and you also have certain rights. These rights include:
- Notifications of the time, date, and place of all court proceedings, including cancellations, that you are expected to be at,
- Assistance with your employer to minimize loss of pay and benefits,
- Secure waiting area at court, away from the accused person, and
- Bringing a translator.
As a witness, you also have the right to be notified if the accused person has filed a request to have their conviction overturned, has been put on parole, or has escaped. However, you must make a written request to receive these notifications.
To be notified if the accused person has filed a request to overturn their conviction, contact the State's Attorney's office in your county. To get their contact information, you can call your local Circuit Clerk.
To be notified if the accused person has been put on parole or has escaped, contact the Prisoner Review Board.