Victim and Witness Rights
State statutes provide for a variety of victim and witness rights, to include: protecting the privacy of child victims; appointing a guardian ad litem for child witnesses; providing information related to safety and counseling to victims of domestic abuse; registering pertinent information with state and county officials; providing counseling assistance; and compensating crime victims for reasonable expenses. Such rights are specific in nature, referenced by topical area within the Code of Iowa.
The department has additionally established a bill of rights for victims and witnesses. Such rights are general in nature and include the following:
- To be treated with dignity and respect;
- To be free from harassment, intimidation and retaliation;
- To receive medical, emotional and psychological support;
- To be informed of available emergency services and compensation programs;
- To be apprised of significant case developments, including the arrest of suspected offenders;
- To receive consideration when prosecution and investigation divert time and attention from school or work;
- To be consulted regarding any plea agreement;
- To receive timely notification of court proceedings;
- To be present at court hearings, accompanied by an advocate when requested;
- To be heard prior to sentencing, via a written impact statement or by personal appearance before the court;
- To be notified when a conviction is appealed; and
- To be heard prior to institutional release, via a written impact statement or by personal appearance before the appropriate board.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) is now available to victims who want current information about the status and location of an incarcerated offender. IowaVINE is a free and confidential program service of the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division. The program monitors the status and location of offenders in County Jails and Iowa Department of Corrections prison facilities.