Advocates are available to assist victims of domestic battery, sexual assault, homicide, reckless homicide, child sexual abuse, and victims of other violent crimes with any questions or problems you may have.
The can reached by calling (815) 434-8340 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.
What type of services and information can I get through Victim Assistance?
- Status information on your case
- Case status notification
- Counseling and counseling referrals
- Victim impact statement information
- Criminal Complaint information
- Restitution information and assistance
- Transportation information
- Crime victims compensation information
- Information regarding accompanying a victim to court
- Court advocacy and orientation
- Order of protection information
- Privacy prior to appearing in court
What are my rights as a victim? In November 1992, Illinois voters approved the Crime Victim’s Rights amendment to the Illinois Constitution, which guarantees certain basic rights to victims of crimes.
Under Section 8.1 of Article I (Bill of Rights) in the Illinois Constitution, crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights:
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
- The right to notification of court proceedings
- The right to communicate with the prosecution.
- The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing.
- The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused.
- The right to the timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused.
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused through the criminal justice process.
- The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim’s testimony would be materialy affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial.
- The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate or other support person of the victim’s choice.
- The right to restitution.
Under state law, you are a crime victim covered by the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act if you (or a member of your immediate family) are the victim of a violent crime involving death, injury, force, threat of force, sexual conduct, domestic violence, stalking, or certain traffic crimes resulting in death or serious injury.
As a victim of crime, what should I expect from the criminal court process? Being a victim of a crime can leave you feeling emotionally overwhelmed, and attempting to make sense out of the criminal process may seem an ominous prospect. This overview of the prosecution process should help you gain a general understanding of what is happening with your case.
Sequence of Events
- A crime occurs.
- The police department is notified by either the victim or a witness.
- The police department conducts an investigation.
- If the police have probable cause and a suspect is identified, an arrest is made.
- If the crime is a misdemeanor, the police prepare a complaint charging the suspect with the appropriate crime.
- If the crime is a felony, the police contact the State’s Attorney’s office screening division. The details of the case are reviewed by the screening attorney who decides on what charges will be filed against the subject.
- A bond hearing is held within 48 hours of an arrest. The Bond Court Judge sets the bond amount. It is important to note that bond is used as means to ensure the defendant’s appearance at court. It is not a form of punishment.
- The case is assigned to a courtroom and an assistant state’s attorney.
- If the crime is a felony, a preliminary hearing or a Grand Jury hearing is held to determine if there is enough evidence to justify a trial.
- An arraignment is held at which time the defendant is formally charged with the crime and informed of his legal Constitutional rights.
- The case enters the discovery phase where both the assigned Assistant State’s Attorney and the defense attorney begin to investigate and collect the evidence in the case and prepare for trial. Police reports are compiled, medical examiner reports, lab results, finger print tests, gun powder tests, blood samples, hospital reports, photographs and other evidence is collected and reviewed.
- A series of status dates are set where the case is heard in court so that the Judge can ensure that the case is progressing in a timely fashion. Examples of status court dates are for discovery orders (exchange of investigative reports, etc.), pre-trial motions, hearings, etc.
- The State’s Attorney begins the process of preparing the case for trial by studying the evidence, contacting expert witnesses, and interviewing witnesses.
- A tentative trial date is set depending upon all relevant parties’ schedules and availability.
- After all pretrial motions have been heard, the trial proceeds. The defendant decides whether to have a bench trial (without a jury), or a jury trial.
- If the defendant is found guilty, a Pre-Sentence Report is ordered from the Probation Department and a sentencing hearing is scheduled. A Pre-Sentence Report details the specifics of the crime, gives a background history of the defendant and if requested makes a sentencing recommendation.
- At the sentencing hearing the assistant state’s attorney argues for an appropriate sentence and may introduce evidence of past criminal involvement. We will ask you to read a Victim Impact Statement detailing how this crime affected you. The defense will argue for what they believe is an appropriate sentence and may introduce evidence that the defendant is remorseful and a good candidate for rehabilitation. After arguments, the judge determines the sentence deemed appropriate as permitted by statute.