FLORIDA STATUE 960 GUIDELINES FOR FAIR TREATMENT OF VICTIMS AND WITNESSES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM Victims, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, have the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant at the crucial stages of a criminal proceeding, to the extent that the right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. What Rights Are Victims Entitled To? 1. Information concerning available crisis intervention services, support or bereavement counseling, community-based victim treatment programs, and the availability of crime victim compensation. 2. Information about the role of the victim in the criminal justice system, the stages in the criminal and juvenile justice process which are of significance to a crime victim, and the manner in which such information can be obtained
FLORIDA STATUTE 960 continued 14. In the case of minors, if the victim or any sibling of the victim and the offender attend the same school, the victim and their siblings have the right to request that the offender be required to attend a different school. 15. A victim of a sexual offense shall be informed of the right to have the courtroom cleared of certain persons as provided in s. 918.16, F.S., when the victim is testifying in concerning that offense. 16. The victims of domestic violence shall be provided with information regarding the address confidentiality program as provided in s. 741.465 F.S.
3. Information concerning steps that are available to Law Enforcement Officers and State Attorneys to protect victims and witnesses from intimidation. 4. Advance notification of judicial and post-judicial proceedings which relate to the arrest or release of the accused, the arraignment, trial, sentencing, or appeal of the accused, provided that you give the State Attorney’s Office your name and current address.
Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center Inner Healing For Invisible Wounds
5. In Felony Crime, consultation by the State Attorney’s Office to obtain the views of the victim or victim’s family about the release of the accused, plea agreements, participation in pretrial diversion programs, and the sentencing of the accused. 6. Return of the victim’s property collected by Law Enforcement or the State Attorney’s Office for evidentiary purposes. 7. Assistance from Law Enforcement or the State Attorney’s Office, when requested by victims, to inform victim’s employer about necessary absences from work and to explain to the victim’s creditors about serious financial hardship incurred as a result of the crime. 8. Request restitution from the offender for certain out-of-pocket losses. The State Attorney shall inform the victim if and when restitution is ordered. 9. Submit a victim Impact Statement orally, or in writing, to the judge, prior to the sentencing of an offender who pleads guilty, nolo contendere, or is convicted of a felony crime. 10. Information concerning the escape of the offender from a state correctional institution, county jail, juvenile detention facility, or involuntary commitment facility. 11. Accompaniment by a victim advocate during any deposition of the victim 12. Request HIV testing of the person charged with committing any sexual offense (under F.S. 794 or 800.04 which involves the transmission of body fluids). HIV test results shall be disclosed to the victim or the victim’s legal guardian, if the victim is a minor. 13. Prompt and timely disposition of the court case (as long as this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused). Continued on back
An Office of Alachua County Department of Community Support Services Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center 218 S.E. 24th Street Gainesville, Florida 32641 (352) 264-6760 This publication made possible by the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund administered by the State of Florida, Department of Health Accessible by RTS Bus
218 S.E. 24th Street Gainesville, Florida 32641
(352) 264-6760 Toll-free (866)252-5439 www.communityservices.alachua.fl.us www.myspace.com/victimrapecrisiscenter An Equal Opportunity Employer M F V H
Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center was created to support and assist you…the victim of crime. We are a County agency established by the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and funded by Alachua County ad valorem taxes.
THE AFTERMATH Crime leaves us all at a loss – whether through direct injury or in the emotional aftermath. No one expects to become a victim or have a family member become a victim of crime or violence. There is an initial period of shock and confusion that follows violence, the loss of a loved one, or property we especially value. These feelings are normal and common.
COMMON FEELINGS THAT SURFACE: Anger – This feeling is probably the most common reaction. You may be angry at the criminal, the legal system, or even yourself. Talking about your anger to someone who wants to listen is often helpful Guilt – You may find that in an effort to accept what happened, you blame yourself in some way. Try to remind yourself that you are not to blame for the crime – the criminal is. Terror – You may be unable to take your safety for granted after a violent crime. Crime is often life-threatening and almost always unexpected. Once you have witnessed or survived a violent crime, it is only natural for you to fear the possibility of being revictimized. Withdrawal – You may feel numb after the incident and may feel like being alone or staying somewhere that feels safe and secure. Grief / Sadness – Intense sadness following the random, brutal crime you survived may be overwhelming at times. The intensity and duration of your grief is connected to the number, type, and severity of the losses you are experiencing. Why Me? – You may have a strong need to understand why you were selected by an offender. Coming to terms with an “explanation” for your victimization may be a long and difficult process. Your advocate can talk with you about this and other feelings you are experiencing.
HOW WE CAN HELP COMMON PHYSICAL REACTIONS: -
Headaches Exhaustion, Restlessness, or Insomnia Anxiety – general or specific Change in eating habits, loss of appetite Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate Irritability, mood swings Lowered resistance to illness/ infection Nightmares, flashbacks of the crime
WHAT TO DO? Many of the feelings that surface after a violent crime are likely to diminish with time. Certain events may cause reactions to come back: the arrest and trial of the offender, a reminder of the crime itself, or an anniversary of the event. The most important thing to do is give yourself time – time to understand what has happened and time to talk about the incident. WHEN THE FEELINGS DON’T GO AWAY For many crime victims, the trauma of the crime does not go away so quickly. Victims and their family members often experience long-term problems after crime and violence. For these people, there may be dreams or flashbacks of the event, depression, nervousness and physical reactions that last for weeks, months, or years after the crime. In these cases it may be useful to seek services from those experienced in helping victims reduce the emotional impact of crime.
1. Immediate outreach to victims of sexual battery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Accompany victims of sexual battery to the hospital during the initial rape examination and evidence collection. 2. Face-to-face counseling for victims and their families. 3. Accompany and support victims through criminal proceedings (testimony, deposition, trial, sentencing, etc.). 4. Assist with application process for Victim Compensation for medical bills, lost wages or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the crime. 5. Community education, speeches and consultation. 6. Confidential HIV/AIDS testing. 7. Support groups for victims of sexual battery and family members of homicide victims. Current support groups offered: • • • • • •
TLC – Talking, Listening, Caring for female survivors of sexual abuse, ages 9-12. HEARTS – Helping Empower and Recover through Sharing for female survivors of sexual abuse, ages 13-16. SORT – Survivors of Rape Trauma for adult female survivors of sexual violence. MSORT – Male Survivors of Rape Trauma for adult make survivors of sexual violence. PATH – Passages through Addiction and Trauma to Healing for women with at-risk lifestyles. HURTS – Homicide Survivors Uniting, Recovering Through Support for family and friends of those killed by violent crime.
ALL SERVICES ARE FREE, CONFIDENTIAL, AND AVAILABLE TO ANY ALACHUA COUNTY RESIDENT.