Victim / Witness Assistance Program
The Charlottesville Victim/Witness Assistance Program is designed to ensure that victims and witnesses of criminal offenses will receive fair and compassionate treatment throughout the judicial process.
Crime Victim & Witness Rights
As a victim or witness of crime, you have certain rights under Virginia’s Crime Victim and Witness Rights Act. As a victim of a crime, you may be entitled to the following information:
- Your rights as a victim/witness of a crime
- The criminal justice process and your role as a victim/witness
- Protective orders and other forms of protection
- How to obtain a warrant if one has not been issued
- Financial assistance, including the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund and restitution
- Address and telephone confidentiality
- Availability of separate waiting areas during court proceedings
- Changes in court dates
- Significant developments in a case such as possible plea offers
- The defendant’s custody status and bond conditions if released from jail
- Opportunity to prepare a written Victim Impact Statement prior to sentencing of a defendant
- Obtaining a protective order and other forms of protection
- Filling out forms for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund
- Referrals to local resources
- Understanding a defendant’s bond conditions
- Receiving intercession services with your employer
- Receiving the services of an interpreter
Threatening a victim or a witness is a crime in Virginia. If you are threatened by the defendant or anyone else in regard to your testimony, call your local police department immediately and notify the Victim/Witness Program at 434-970-3176.
- If you are subpoenaed, we can help you with understanding;
- The requirements of a subpoena and testifying in court; interceding with your employer if you are having difficulty taking off work to attend court.
Tips on Testifying
- Be Prepared: Try to recall what happened and picture the scene and the objects there. Don’t try to memorize your testimony; simply tell what happened in your own words.
- Speak Clearly and Loudly: If you did not hear the question or understand it, ask the attorney to repeat it.
- Answer Only the Question Asked of You: Stop immediately if the judge interrupts or an attorney objects to a question.
- Do Not Guess or Speculate: If you don’t know the answer, say so. If you give an estimate of time or distance, be sure everyone knows you’re estimating.
- Tell The Truth: Don’t pause to try and figure out if your answer will hurt or help the case. Just answer to the best of your recollection.
- Be Courteous: Try to remain calm and do not lose your temper. Always be polite.
- Dress For Court: Dress comfortably and appropriately (shorts, t-shirts are not good choices however, it is not necessary to dress in a suit). It is often cold in the courtrooms so you may want to bring a sweater with you.