What is the Office of the Victim Advocate?
The Office of the Victim Advocate (OVA) is an independent state agency charged with the responsibility of protecting and enforcing the rights of crime victim’s throughout the state of Connecticut.
What can the Office of the Victim Advocate do?
Among other things, the Office of the Victim Advocate:
- Monitors services provided to crime victims by state agencies and private entities;
- Receives and investigates victims’ complaints
regarding their treatment in the criminal justice process, including but
not limited to:
- Complaints against law enforcement agencies
- Victim Compensation
- Court-based and non-profit advocates
- The Judge
- The Prosecutor
- Can intervene in court cases to advocate for a crime victim when their rights have been violated.
- Can make recommendations to the legislature, criminal justice professionals, and victim service providers for changes in state policies and laws to benefit crime victims.
- Provides public education and outreach regarding services available to victims of crime and their families.
What are my rights as a crime victim in an adult criminal proceeding?
What are my rights as a crime victim in a juvenile delinquency proceeding?
As a crime victim in a Juvenile Delinquency proceeding, you have the following rights:
- Right to Attend Delinquency Proceedings: Any victim of a delinquent act, the parents or guardian of such victim, and any appointed victim advocate will not be excluded from the delinquency proceedings unless the judge specifically orders otherwise.
- Victim’s input as part of pre-disposition investigation by Probation Officer in delinquency matter: Prior to the disposition of the case of any child convicted of a delinquent act, the probation officer is required to conduct an investigation which includes an inquiry into the concerns of the complainant or victim and any damages suffered by the victim including medical expenses, loss of earnings and property loss. The case of any child will not be disposed of until such investigation has been completed and the results have been placed before the judge.
- Statement of Victim/Victim’s Representative at Delinquency Proceeding: Any victim of alleged delinquent conduct, the parents or guardian of such victim, an appointed advocate, or the victim’s counsel shall have the right to appear before the court in any proceeding on the alleged delinquency of a child for the purpose of making a statement to the court concerning the disposition of the case.
Who is considered a crime victim? What is the definition of a crime victim?
How do I contact the Office of the Victim Advocate?
How do I file a complaint?
Should you have a complaint with a representative of an agency, law enforcement officer, etc. you should first try to resolve the issue directly with an agency head or supervisor. If you feel that you have gone unheard and feel that your rights as a crime victim are being violated, you should contact the OVA.
I was told that as a crime victim I can receive money to cover certain expenses. How do I apply for compensation?
The Office of Victim Services is the agency that provides crime victim compensation. Compensation is only available for certain-crime related expenses. For more information on victim compensation, please visit Judicial Branch website at www.jud.ct.gov or call the OVS toll-free within Connecticut at 1-888-286-7347.
The police gave me a yellow piece of paper and told me to contact the Victim Advocate; do I call the Office of the Victim Advocate?
No, this is a common error. Actually, you would contact the court-based advocate at the specified court location. If there is not an advocate at the court location, you should contact the State’s Attorney in that court. To find contact information for the advocates and State’s Attorneys in a specific court, please check the Judicial Branch Directory.
If your matter is related to domestic violence, you would contact family services at the court location. You can find their contact information in the Judicial Branch Directory referenced above or contact, Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence (CCADV) toll-free within Connecticut at 888-774-2900 for a domestic violence advocate.
If your matter is related to a drunken driving incident contact Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) for an advocate toll free within Connecticut at 800-544-3690.
If your matter is related to a sexual assault incident contact, The CT Alliance to End Sexual Violence for a sexual assault advocate toll-free within Connecticut at 888-999-5545.
What is restitution?
As a crime victim you have the right to ask for restitution and for the court to consider it. Restitution is, generally speaking, the out of pocket expenses associated with the crime you have suffered. In Connecticut restitution can be ordered through both (1) a condition of probation and (2) a written order of restitution. The Written Order of Restitution is similar to a Civil Judgment, but without the hassle of hiring an attorney and going through the Civil Court process. The Written Order of Restitution can be requested by the prosecutor or the victim and ordered by a Judge at the end of a case. The order is good for 20 years.
Can I obtain restitution in a juvenile delinquency proceeding?
Yes, pursuant to CGS §46b-140, upon conviction of a child as delinquent, the court may order the child or the parents or guardian of the child, or both, to make restitution to the victim of the offense. If the child has engaged in conduct which results in property damage or personal injury, the court may order the child or the parent(s) or guardian of the child, if such parent or guardian had knowledge of or condoned the conduct of the child, or both the child and the parent(s) or guardian, to make restitution.
Do I automatically receive notification of court proceedings?
No! Connecticut’s notification system is an “opt-in” system, which means you need to sign-up for notification. Register with the following agencies:
- Office of Victim Services (OVS) 1–800-822-8428 (post-conviction notification)
- Department of Corrections Victim Service Unit (pre-conviction/post-conviction)
- Connecticut SAVIN is a free, confidential service that provides crime victims and their family members, victim advocates, and members of the community free and confidential notification of court related events. The Connecticut Judicial Branch provides this toll-free, automated notification service.
How do I file a restraining order?
For information on how to apply for a restraining order, please view the Judicial Branch Publication Restraining Orders: How to Apply for Relief of Abuse