Crime Victim Rights
Can I be accompanied to court?
Yes, crime victims can be represented by attorneys and accompanied by victim advocates and supportive family and friends.
What are my rights?
(A)To preserve and protect victims’ rights to justice and due process regardless of race, sex, age, religion, or economic status, victims of crime have the right to:
(1) be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, throughout the criminal and juvenile justice process, and informed of the victim’s constitutional rights, provided by statute;
(2) be reasonably informed when the accused or convicted person is arrested, released from custody, or has escaped;
(3) be informed of and present at any criminal proceedings which are dispositive of the charges where the defendant has the right to be present;
(4) be reasonably informed of and be allowed to submit either a written or oral statement at all hearings affecting bond or bail;
(5) be heard at any proceeding involving a post‑arrest release decision, a plea, or sentencing;
(6) be reasonably protected from the accused or persons acting on his behalf throughout the criminal justice process;
(7) confer with the prosecution, after the crime against the victim has been charged, before the trial or before any disposition and informed of the disposition;
(8) have reasonable access after the conclusion of the criminal investigation to all documents relating to the crime against the victim before trial;
(9) receive prompt and full restitution from the person or persons convicted of the criminal conduct that caused the victim’s loss or injury, including both adult and juvenile offenders;
(10) be informed of any proceeding when any post‑conviction action is being considered, and be present at any post‑conviction hearing involving a post‑conviction release decision;
(11) a reasonable disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case;
(12) have all rules governing criminal procedure and the admissibility of evidence in all criminal proceedings protect victims’ rights and have these rules subject to amendment or repeal by the legislature to ensure protection of these rights.
What is a Victim Advocate (VA)?
A Victim Advocate (VA) is a person who advocates for victims of crime inside and outside of the courtroom. They do not legally "represent" victims in the sense that attorneys do but play a very important role in a victim's journey through the criminal justice system. Victim Advocates can assist victims with completing and submitting paperwork and impact statements for court hearings and can act as a liaison to notify victims of hearing dates and times. There are Victim Advocate positions associated with government organizations or community organizations. South Carolina law requires that police departments have Law Enforcement Victim Advocates (LEVAs) on staff to work with victims after a crime has been reported. The Solicitor’s Office Victim Advocate will advocate for crime victims if and when the case is given to the Solicitor. The Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole and the Department of Corrections have their own VAs who work with crime victims. In addition to statutorily-mandated VAs, nonprofits may have their own VAs who can guide crime victims through the criminal justice process.
How do I get a copy of the incident report in my case?
To request a free copy of the incident report from your case, contact the law enforcement entity investigating the case.