A Victim's Rights
Who is a Victim of Crime?
For the purpose of victim rights, a victim is defined as a person who has suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm as a result of a crime. The term victim also includes immediate family members of a murder victim as well as a victim who was rendered incompetent as a result of the offense.
The Right to a Victim Advocate
The Iowa code 915.2 mandates that a victim counselor, advocating at the request of a victim,is granted access to any proceedings related to the offense.
To contact an advocate, victims may call a local victim service program, contact the local county attorney’s victim witness coordinator or call an advocate with the Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Compensation Program.
The Right to Crime Victim Compensation
The Crime Victim Compensation Program of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office pays out-of-pocket expenses incurred by victims as a result of injury and death from crime. To inquire about eligibility or to file an application, call the program toll-free at 800-373-5044 or in Des Moines at 515-281-5044.
The Right to Victim Notification
Since July 1, 1986, victims of crime, other than simple misdemeanors, have the right to register, in writing, with the county attorney in order to be notified of the status of their case and their rights as crime victims.
Victim Notification Procedures
Law enforcement is required to advise victims of the right to register and provide a request for a registration form. Victims must complete the registration form and submit the form to the county attorney prosecuting the case. The county attorney is required to forward the registration form to other appropriate agencies, including law enforcement, the clerk of court, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, the Iowa Department of Corrections, and the Iowa Board of Parole. The appropriate agency will provide ongoing notification to the registered victim by mail.
Be sure to keep your current address on file with the offices where you are registered.
The Right to Victim Restitution
At sentencing, an offender can be ordered to pay the victim restitution. Restitution means payment of crime-related expenses to a victim by an offender.
Victims must submit all out-of-pocket expenses to the county attorney’s office and the county attorney shall request that the offender be ordered to pay restitution.
Since 1997, judges are required to order offenders to pay $150,000 to the estate of a victim killed as a result of a crime. This amount is to be ordered beyond the restitution ordered to victims for out-of-pocket expenses.
The Right to a Victim Impact Statement
At the time of sentencing, a victim or survivor has the right to submit a victim impact statement to the court. This statement may be presented in person or in writing.
The statement affords victims the opportunity to publicly state the effects of crime on themselves and their families. This statement is not offered to determine guilt.
A victim may seek the assistance of advocates or survivors when preparing and presenting the victim impact statement.