Disclaimer

This site is for informational purposes only.  While we strive to provide clear and accurate information, not all information may be free from error.  Information on this site is not and should not be taken as legal advice.  Neither the Grant County Victim/Witness Unit nor the Grant County Prosecuting Attorney's Office provides legal advice to the public.  Neither the Grant County Victim/Witness Unit nor the Grant County Prosecuting Attorney's Office represent victims, witnesses, or private parties.  If you require legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  This office cannot and will not recommend an attorney. 

Victim and Witness Rights

Victim Rights in the Washington State Constitution

These rights are taken directly from the Washington State Constitution, Article I, Section 35.  If you would like to view the entire constitution, go to http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/other/WA_CONSTITUTION.htm

SECTION 35 VICTIMS OF CRIMES - RIGHTS. Effective law enforcement depends on cooperation from victims of crime. To ensure victims a meaningful role in the criminal justice system and to accord them due dignity and respect, victims of crime are hereby granted the following basic and fundamental rights.

Upon notifying the prosecuting attorney, a victim of a crime charged as a felony shall have the right to be informed of and, subject to the discretion of the individual presiding over the trial or court proceedings, attend trial and all other court proceedings the defendant has the right to attend, and to make a statement at sentencing and at any proceeding where the defendant's release is considered, subject to the same rules of procedure which govern the defendant's rights. In the event the victim is deceased, incompetent, a minor, or otherwise unavailable, the prosecuting attorney may identify a representative to appear to exercise the victim's rights. This provision shall not constitute a basis for error in favor of a defendant in a criminal proceeding nor a basis for providing a victim or the victim's representative with court appointed counsel. [AMENDMENT 84, 1989 Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200, p 2999. Approved November 7, 1989.]

Victim Rights in Washington State Statute

The following is summarized from what is known as the Crime Victim Bill of Rights.  For the complete statute, go to 7.69.030

There shall be a reasonable effort made to ensure that victims, survivors of victims, and witnesses of crimes have the following rights, which apply to any criminal court and/or juvenile court proceeding:

 

Victims of violent or sex crimes are entitled to receive at the time of reporting to law enforcement officials, a written statement including the name, address, and telephone number of a county or local crime victim/witness program;

  1. To be informed of the final disposition of a case;
  2. To be informed of changes in court dates to which you have been subpoenaed;
  3. To receive protection from harm or threats of harm arising out of cooperation with law enforcement and prosecution;
  4. To receive any witness fees to which you are entitled;
  5. To have, whenever practical, a secure waiting area provided for you during the court proceedings;
  6. To have any stolen property or other personal property returned as soon as possible after completion of a case;
  7. To have your employer contact to minimize any problems when you appear in court;
  8. Access to immediate medical assistance without unreasonable delay;
  9. Victims of violent and sex crimes may have a crime victim advocate from a crime victim/witness program, or any other support person of the victim’s choosing, present at any judicial proceedings related to criminal acts committed against the victim if practical and does not cause a delay. 
  10. As a victim or survivor of a victim, to be present in court during trial if your testimony has been given and no further testimony is required;
  11. As a victim or survivor of a victim, to be informed of the date, time, and location of trial and, if requested, of the sentencing hearing if there is a felony conviction;
  12. To submit a victim impact statement to the court which will be made a part of the offender’s file;
  13. As a victim or survivor of a victim, to present a statement personally or by representation at the sentencing hearing when there is a felony conviction;
  14. As a victim or survivor of a victim, to have restitution ordered when there is a felony conviction, unless the court judges this to be inappropriate.

Rights of Child Victims and Witnesses in Washington State Statute

In addition to the rights of victims and witnesses provided for in RCW 7.69.030, there shall be every reasonable effort made by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges to assure that child victims and witnesses are afforded the rights enumerated in this section. Except as provided in RCW 7.69A.030 regarding child victims or child witnesses of violent crimes, sex crimes, or child abuse, the enumeration of rights shall not be construed to create substantive rights and duties, and the application of an enumerated right in an individual case is subject to the discretion of the law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or judge. Child victims and witnesses have the following rights, which apply to any criminal court and/or juvenile court proceeding:

     (1) To have explained in language easily understood by the child, all legal proceedings and/or police investigations in which the child may be involved.

     (2) With respect to child victims of sex or violent crimes or child abuse, to have a crime victim advocate from a crime victim/witness program, or any other support person of the victim's choosing, present at any prosecutorial or defense interviews with the child victim. This subsection applies if practical and if the presence of the crime victim advocate or support person does not cause any unnecessary delay in the investigation or prosecution of the case. The role of the crime victim advocate is to provide emotional support to the child victim and to promote the child's feelings of security and safety.

     (3) To be provided, whenever possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings and to have an advocate or support person remain with the child prior to and during any court proceedings.

     (4) To not have the names, addresses, nor photographs of the living child victim or witness disclosed by any law enforcement agency, prosecutor's office, or state agency without the permission of the child victim, child witness, parents, or legal guardians to anyone except another law enforcement agency, prosecutor, defense counsel, or private or governmental agency that provides services to the child victim or witness.

     (5) To allow an advocate to make recommendations to the prosecuting attorney about the ability of the child to cooperate with prosecution and the potential effect of the proceedings on the child.

     (6) To allow an advocate to provide information to the court concerning the child's ability to understand the nature of the proceedings.

     (7) To be provided information or appropriate referrals to social service agencies to assist the child and/or the child's family with the emotional impact of the crime, the subsequent investigation, and judicial proceedings in which the child is involved.

     (8) To allow an advocate to be present in court while the child testifies in order to provide emotional support to the child.

     (9) To provide information to the court as to the need for the presence of other supportive persons at the court proceedings while the child testifies in order to promote the child's feelings of security and safety.

     (10) To allow law enforcement agencies the opportunity to enlist the assistance of other professional personnel such as child protection services, victim advocates or prosecutorial staff trained in the interviewing of the child victim.

     (11) With respect to child victims of violent or sex crimes or child abuse, to receive either directly or through the child's parent or guardian if appropriate, at the time of reporting the crime to law enforcement officials, a written statement of the rights of child victims as provided in this chapter. The written statement shall include the name, address, and telephone number of a county or local crime victim/witness program, if such a crime victim/witness program exists in the county.

Rights of Dependant Victims and Witnesses in Washington State

(1) In addition to the rights of victims and witnesses provided for in RCW 7.69.030, there shall be every reasonable effort made by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges to assure that dependent persons who are victims or witnesses are afforded the rights enumerated in this section. The enumeration of rights under this chapter shall not be construed to create substantive rights and duties, and the application of an enumerated right in an individual case is subject to the discretion of the law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or judge. Dependent persons who are victims or witnesses in the criminal justice system have the following rights, which apply to any criminal court or juvenile court proceeding:

     (a) To have explained in language easily understood by the dependent person, all legal proceedings and police investigations in which the dependent person may be involved.

     (b) With respect to a dependent person who is a victim of a sex or violent crime, to have a crime victim advocate from a crime victim/witness program, or any other advocate of the victim's choosing, present at any prosecutorial or defense interviews with the dependent person. This subsection applies unless it creates undue hardship and if the presence of the crime victim advocate or other advocate does not cause any unnecessary delay in the investigation or prosecution of the case. The role of the crime victim advocate or other advocate is to provide emotional support to the dependent person and to promote the dependent person's feelings of security and safety.

     (c) To be provided, whenever possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings and to have an advocate or support person remain with the dependent person prior to and during any court proceedings.

     (d) To allow an advocate to make recommendations to the prosecuting attorney about the ability of the dependent person to cooperate with prosecution and the potential effect of the proceedings on the dependent person.

     (e) To allow an advocate to provide information to the court concerning the dependent person's ability to understand the nature of the proceedings.

     (f) To be provided information or appropriate referrals to social service agencies to assist the dependent person with the emotional impact of the crime, the subsequent investigation, and judicial proceedings in which the dependent person is involved.

     (g) To allow an advocate to be present in court while the dependent person testifies in order to provide emotional support to the dependent person.

     (h) To provide information to the court as to the need for the presence of other supportive persons at the court proceedings while the dependent person testifies in order to promote the dependent person's feelings of security and safety.

     (i) To allow law enforcement agencies the opportunity to enlist the assistance of other professional personnel such as victim advocates or prosecutorial staff trained in the interviewing of the dependent person.

     (j) With respect to a dependent person who is a victim of a violent or sex crime, to receive either directly or through the dependent person's legal guardian, if applicable, at the time of reporting the crime to law enforcement officials, a written statement of the rights of dependent persons as provided in this chapter. The statement may be paraphrased to make it more easily understood. The written statement shall include the name, address, and telephone number of a county or local crime victim/witness program, if such a crime victim/witness program exists in the county.

     (2) Any party may request a preliminary hearing for the purpose of establishing accommodations for the dependent person consistent with, but not limited to, the rights enumerated in this section.