What is the definition of “victim?"
Under South Carolina law, a victim is a person who is harmed as a result of a crime. When the victim is a minor under the age of 18 or otherwise incapacitated, the parents or legal guardians are also considered victims. When a crime results in death, the direct family members of the person who is killed are also considered victims. A perpetrator is not a victim. See S.C. Constitution Art. I § 24(c)(2).
Does the Solicitor represent me?
Yes and no. The Circuit Solicitor’s Office represents all citizens, not just crime victims. Their goal is to seek justice and preserve the peace, safety, and dignity of all citizens. Sometimes crime victims’ interests differ from those of the Solicitor, and crime victims have a legal right to seek their own attorney.
What legal services does SCVAN offer?
SCVAN provides direct legal representation for victims of crime. This advocacy happens inside and outside of the courtroom. SCVAN attorneys assist victims during the criminal process by providing information about their rights and protecting those rights in court. In addition to victims’ rights enforcement, we take a holistic approach to legal representation and can assist and represent victims in a variety of situations including restraining orders, immigration, divorce and custody, employment law, contracts and tort.
I can’t afford a lawyer. What do I do?
What areas of the state do you serve?
SCVAN operates statewide. We have offices in Columbia and Spartanburg, but our legal staff travels across South Carolina to meet with and represent victims of violent crime. Through our Reaching Rural Program, we have six remote Victim Rights Centers in the following Lowcountry counties: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper. At these centers, crime victims have access to a computer, printer, scanner, and office supplies. Additionally, we offer secure videoconferencing that allows them to have face-to-face meetings with attorneys. Victims can also use our videoconferencing platform from their smartphone, tablet, or other personal device to receive legal services.
Where are you located?
We serve victims statewide; our offices are located in Columbia and Spartanburg.
How can I refer someone for services?
If you know someone who could benefit from our services, refer them to our intake line (803) 509-6552 or our online intake form.
I’m being abused. What can I do?
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. If you are currently experiencing domestic violence and need help getting to safety, we strongly recommend calling the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. In addition, SCVAN provides emergency housing and financial services. The following safety planning information may be helpful.
Do you offer emergency services?
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
How do I get emergency housing?
ONLY Victim Service Providers can request these funds from the Emergency Fund on behalf of a South Carolina crime victim. See our Emergency Fund page for more details.
I feel like I’m not getting adequate legal representation. What can I do?
It is always important to speak with your attorney about any concerns that you have. If you believe that your victims' rights have been violated, and you have already discussed these concerns with your attorney, you may complete an online intake and our team will be happy to counsel you about your rights and how they can be enforced.
I feel like the Police/Solicitor aren’t taking my case seriously. What should I do?
Reach out to your victim advocate at the police department or the Solicitor’s Office. If you believe that your rights are being violated, please complete an online intake or call us.
I haven’t received notification from the Court about a criminal case. What do I do?
Reach out to your victim advocate at the Solicitor’s Office for clarification and guidance.
I want to report a crime. How do I do that?
Call your local law enforcement office or go to your nearest police station and ask to file a report. If there is an emergency, call 911.