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Who do I contact if I have been a victim of a crime?
You may contact:
Olmsted County Attorney Office
151 4th St SE
Rochester MN 55904
Coordinators: Courtney T. and Stephanie M.
or, Olmsted County Community Corrections has a Victim Services Department outside the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office.
Victim Services of Dodge, Fillmore, and Olmsted Counties Mission Statement
We believe that victims of crime have a right to be met with dignity and respect. To ensure that, the programs of Victim Services are committed to providing:
- Advocacy and support to help meet the needs of crime victims;
- Advocacy designed to prompt systems change;
- Professional and community education;
- Prevention efforts to challenge the existence of violence in our communities
What Victim Services Can Do For You
- Provide support and information about available options and resources to victims of sexual assault and serious felony crime;
- Accompany victims to the hospital or law enforcement if they choose to report an offense;
- Provide advocacy and information to victims throughout the criminal justice process to ensure understanding of the system and that their rights and wishes are considered throughout the process;
- Work with professionals and community members to provide education and establish crime prevention efforts;
- Work with professionals in the community to ensure sensitive and constructive systems' response to crime victims;
- Provide specialized outreach services to youth, immigrants/refugees, and SE Asian community members;
Victim/Witness Assistance Program
The Victim/Witness Assistance Program is a program of Victim Services and is there to aid individuals who are victims and/or witnesses of felony crimes, or those individuals affected by another person's victimization. Advocates with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program can:
- Assist you in obtaining food, clothing, and shelter to meet your immediate needs following a crime.
- Provide emotional support to help you and family members through the crisis.
- Assist you in applying for restitution and reparations.
- Act as a liaison between you and the criminal justice system.
If you are interested these services, please contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Program. All services are free, confidential and available in Dodge, Fillmore and Olmsted Counties.
What Do Volunteers Do?
Volunteers work with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in some specific ways. Those who would like to volunteer to support the program may help with updating materials, presenting educational programs and/or planning special events. Other volunteers provide direct support to crime victims and their loved ones. This is accomplished primarily through court advocacy.
Court advocates are volunteers who advocate on behalf of victims within the criminal justice system. They are typically assigned to follow specific cases as they proceed through the criminal justice system. They provide ongoing support, information and referrals, accompaniment, and assist victims in accessing their rights as crime victims. Court advocates are needed in Dodge, Fillmore and Olmsted counties.
Can anyone help me with expenses related to this crime?
It wasn't my fault. There are several resources available for financial assistance. Your Victim/Witness coordinator can help you sort out which is best for you. Emergency funds may be available on a limited basis to help with emergencies not covered by insurance or other sources. The State of Minnesota also has funds available to assist victims of crime with medical, dental, psychological or funeral expenses related to a crime. Information on those resources can be found on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website.
What is Restitution?
Restitution is a court order for money that an offender pays to the victim for any out-of-pocket expenses that occurred as a direct result of the crime. Restitution can be ordered both in adult and juvenile criminal cases at sentencing (adult) and disposition (juvenile) hearings.
How can I request restitution?
You must complete an Affidavit of Restitution form. Here you will provide a list of your losses, the dollar value of repair or replacement, and receipts or reasons justifying the amounts. The form should be filed as soon as possible. Examples of losses covered by restitution include, but are not limited to:
- medical bills not covered by insurance
- lost wages
- repair or replacement of stolen or damaged property
Copies of bills, receipts, insurance claim forms and estimates should be attached to the affidavit of restitution form. The form must also be stamped, notarized and include the defendant's name and court file numbers. If you need help or assistance completing the affidavit of restitution form, please call the Olmsted County Attorneys Office Victim/Witness Line at 507-328-7610.
How long until I get my restitution?
Restitution for both juvenile and adult offenders is paid on a schedule arranged by the supervising probation officer. You may speak to the probation officer by calling and asking to speak with the person who is supervising the offender. You also have the right to request that a review hearing be scheduled if you are not satisfied with the rate of payment. This will not guarantee payment or any change. It will simply be a request for the court to review the defendant's efforts at complying with the court's order.
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
A Victim Impact Statement may be the only means of making offenders aware of the harm they have caused. A Victim Impact Statement can be written or oral. It gives the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at sentencing, and allows the victim to express the pain, anguish and financial devastation the crime has caused. A Victim Impact Statement provides the court with information which leads to appropriate sentences and suitable restitution.
According to the law, the victim determines how the statement should be presented at the sentencing or disposition hearing. They may choose to:
- Present the statement in written form
- Present the statement orally to the court
- Request the prosecuting attorney or victim coordinator to orally present the statement.
The following are items to consider including in your Victim Impact Statement:
- A brief summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the crime
- A summary of the financial loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime
- The victim's reactions or objections to the proposed sentence
- Jail, prison, work release privileges, community service can be addressed
- A short statement of what outcome the victim would like and their reasons, including support for, or opposition to, treatment or community service programs
- Highlights about the victim, their past accomplishments, hopes for the future and what the crime has done to these activities
- The overall effect the incident has had on the victim and family. Do not repeat facts already presented
Do I have to come to court?
As the victim or witness to a crime committed by an adult offender, you have the right to be at any hearing. You are not obligated to come to court unless you receive a subpoena. Many juvenile hearings are closed and you should ask your Victim/Witness Coordinator whether you may attend.
Do I have to testify in Court? I really don't want to come into a courtroom.
The constitutions of the United States and State of Minnesota guarantee each defendant the right to face their accusers. Your Victim/Witness coordinator will do everything possible to prepare you for your experience on the witness stand.
What should I expect in a criminal proceeding?
The court process is often lengthy and confusing. The following is a general outline of the criminal prosecution states. Individual cases may vary.
First Appearance - where the bail is set, conditions of release are ordered and a public defender is appointed, if appropriate.
Omnibus Hearing - where the defendant can plead guilty or not guilty. If the plea is not guilty, a pre-trial hearing is set.
Pre-Trial Hearing - where plea agreements are negotiated with input from victims. Victim presence is not required but is recommended. If defendant pleads guilty, sentencing is on the same day. If defendant please not guilty in any case, trial date is set.
Trial - where witnesses testify about the facts of the case. Can be with or without a jury. Victim is required to come if subpoenaed.
Sentencing - if the defendant is found guilty, judge imposes punishment which can include jail or prison time, fines, community service, restitution to the victim, terms of probation, counseling or treatment programs, etc. Victim is encouraged to attend and give a victim impact statement.
I'm afraid the offender will want to retaliate against me or my family members.
While this is a frequent scenario on popular television shows and movies, it is generally not the case in real life. The County Attorney can request that a no contact order be issued as a condition of the defendant's release. In cases of Domestic Abuse and for assistance with obtaining an Order for Protection, please contact The Women's Shelter at 507-285-1938. Also, in cases of domestic abuse, you can get help in obtaining an Order for Protection. Any violations of these orders should be reported to the police and the probation office.
How do I know if the offender is still in custody?
There are a number of ways to track defendants who may be in custody. You will the need the name of the defendant. A date of birth is also helpful.
If the defendant is in custody in a state prison, information may be accessed through the Minnesota Department of Corrections website. If the defendant is being held in the Olmsted County ADC, information may be accessed through the Sheriff's Department website.
VINE, an automated system that will track offenders in MOST of Minnesota's county jails, is also available at 1-877-MN-4-VINE (1-877-664-8463). You may also receive a document with sentencing information from your Victim/Witness coordinator that will enable you to request that the custodial facility notify you when the defendant is scheduled to be released or furloughed.
Sexual Assault Program
The Sexual Assault Program is operated by staff and volunteers who have been trained to help victims/survivors to cope with the wide range of needs and responses to sexual assault.
24 Hour Crisis Line
The 24-Hour Line 507-289-0636 is available to everyone, at any hour, seven days a week. The line is staffed by people who are trained to listen, offer information and make referrals to other cooperating emergency agencies if necessary.
Advocates are trained staff and volunteers who offer help for the survivor of sexual abuse. Advocates are available 24 hours a day and will assist survivors of sexual abuse or assault at the hospital or law enforcement center. Advocates can also be available to accompany the survivor and family through the criminal justice system process.
Presentations are designed to increase awareness of sexual abuse or assault. Our speakers bureau includes trained staff and volunteers who will speak to clubs, schools or organizations. Informative programs are available on child sexual assault prevention, sexual harassment, date rape, stalking, and all services offered by the Sexual Assault Program. The program coordinates with the Rochester Civic Theater to present the "Touch Continuum" and "No Easy Answers" prevention programs for elementary and middle school students.