If you are a victim of a criminal act, you have rights and are entitled to protection from the youth offender and may receive compensation for injury and property damage. These rights include:
- addresses and telephone numbers are protected, youth can not have access to that information
- are not to be excluded from the courtroom during trial, which implies to members of a murder victims' family as well
- have a right to express your views concerning the crime, the effect on you, and your feelings about what the sentence ought to be
- the board of parole and post-prison supervision must attempt to notify the district attorney and you if you have previously requested notification, in writing, of parole hearings and release dates of incarcerated offenders.
The people of Oregon spoke out about victims' rights during the November 1999 elections. As a result, the State Constitution was amended to include victims' rights during a criminal procedure. These include:
- to be informed and present at any proceedings regarding the youth
- receive information about youth's prior history, and informed of youth's release date prior to release
- get a copy of a transcript of any open court proceedings
- have the district attorney consult you about plea negotiations in violent felony cases
- be informed of these rights as soon as possible
- amends the constitution to guarantee the victim the right to be reasonably protected from the youth
The Victim's Assistance Program through the Curry County District Attorney provides the following services:
- General information regarding the criminal justice system
- Specific information about the youth's criminal case
- Accompaniment to court proceedings by an advocate
- Crisis intervention by trained advocates. The will provide emotional support and refer victims to appropriate social service agencies and professional counselor
- Assistance in ensuring that your testimony can be given without fear of intimidation
- Assist in filing for Crime Victim Compensation through the Department of Justice Crime Victim Compensation Program
- Assisting with emergency shelter for victims of domestic and family violence
- Assisting in recovery of property from evidence and financial loss through restitution to be paid by the youth
What happens to my case if I am a victim of an offense committed by a juvenile?
If the police charge a juvenile with a criminal offense, they will send a report of their investigation to the Juvenile Department. After screening, it will be assigned to a Juvenile Counselor who is responsible for meeting with the juvenile and family, reviewing the police report, victim's statement, and youth's prior record (if any), and determining a corrective course of action. If the offender is in detention, a brief custody hearing will take place immediately. Goals of the Department include providing protection to the community and rehabilitative services to offenders so there is a better chance they will stay out of trouble in the future. Young people are held accountable for their actions by paying restitution, doing community service, apologizing to their victims, participating in counseling, and/or spending time in detention jail), shelter homes, treatment programs, or the state youth correctional facility.
How can I be compensated for my losses if they resulted from the actions of a juvenile offender?
First, check with your insurance company if you have coverage for personal injury or property damage.
If I have property damage or physical injuries, can the juvenile be required to pay me back?
The Juvenile Department's Victim Assistance Program sends information by mail to the victim listed in the police report shortly after the case arrives. This correspondence will do the following:
* Inform you about your rights as a crime victim under Oregon law
* Ask you about your costs related to property damage or physical injury, if you would like restitution to be part of sentencing in your case
* Ask you to comment on your experience as a crime victim so offenders can be made aware of the pain and inconvenience they cause to innocent people
* Give you general information about the restitution 'process and alternatives when restitution is not possible. Juveniles at times will pay for the restitution to their victims. However, when young people are incapable of paying restitution, their parents may be held responsible for damages If the youth in your case cannot personally pay you back, the Juvenile Department can inform you of his/her name, birth-date, parents' names, and address so you can contact them directly or initiate action against them in civil court. You may also be entitled to assistance with medical bills resulting from violent crimes such as robbery, child abuse, or assault.
How can I find out about a case I am involved in?
Call the Juvenile Department. If you have any of the following information, it will help them locate your case: the offender's name, the case number and police agency handling your case, or the offense and the date it happened. You will be given an update on your case (if it has arrived at the Juvenile Department) and hearing notification (if one has been scheduled). You may also request information about counseling or other victim support services. In most circumstances, you should be able to know the general plan for your case within two to four weeks after it is received by the Juvenile Department. The Juvenile Court process is not secret. It is open to the public, and the involvement and participation of victims is especially encouraged.
How do I get my property returned if it has been recovered by the police?
Recovered property may be needed as evidence if the case goes to trial. For this reason, the police will not ordinarily release your property back to you until the Juvenile Department and/or District Attorney's Office advises them in writing that it is no longer needed. Sometimes it is possible to photograph urgently needed property and then release it before trial -ask the District Attorney.
What if the juvenile offender's attorney or investigator wants to talk to me?
The juvenile's legal representative is permitted to talk with you if you agree. You have the right to decide whether to do so and may ask that the Deputy District Attorney be present during the conversation, if you prefer.
How can I request that my address not be given to the offender?
Contact the Juvenile Department and ask for the assigned Juvenile Counselor (or leave a message with your request).
What if I am harassed by the juvenile offender while my case is pending?
Call the police and report the harassment. Then call the Juvenile Department and report it to the counselor handling your case.