Your Rights as a Victim of Crime
Being a victim of a crime can be traumatic. It can also be difficult to navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system. The Hilliard Division of Police wants to help victims of crime cope and recover. The following information explains your rights and how to take advantage of resources available to victims.
What is a victim?
A victim is defined as a person against whom the criminal act is committed, or the person directly and proximately harmed by the criminal offense. Under Marsy’s Law, adult parents of a child victim could also be considered victims or persons in a vehicle who are injured as the result of a vehicular homicide could also be considered victims.
What can I expect if I’m a victim of crime in Hilliard?
A Hilliard Division of Police officer will provide a business card to every victim who reports a crime that includes the officer’s name, contact information, and the report number. If you are a victim of crime in Hilliard and want to be notified when an offender is released from the Franklin County Jail, contact the Hilliard City Prosecutor.
Representatives of the City of Hilliard Law Department will facilitate victim’s rights in court.
- Cynthia Newsome, City of Hilliard Victim Advocate, can be reached at 614-300-5921.
- City of Hilliard Prosecutor Dawn Steele can be reached at (614) 334-2362
- For incidents that occur in Norwich Township, call the Columbus Domestic Violence Unit at (614) 296-6232
What is VINE?
Victim Information and Notification Everyday, or VINE, is a free, anonymous and easy-to-use service that makes vital information about the custody status of inmates accessible to those who need it most: victims, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, probation and parole officers, advocates, neighbors, family members and the general public. If you are concerned about the custody status of an inmate in an Ohio state prison, county jail or juvenile facility, call VINE at 1-(800)-770-0192 or visit www.VINELink.com.
What is Marsy’s Law?
In 2017, Ohio voters passed Marsy’s Law, an amendment to the state constitution ensuring rights for crime victims. Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail.
Ohio law guarantees victims the following
1. To fair and respectful treatment for the victim’s safety, dignity and privacy.
The right to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect already existed in Ohio’s constitution. The right to privacy exists for all U.S. and Ohio citizens. Victims have the right to refuse interview, deposition or discovery requests made by the accused or by someone else on behalf of the accused. Victims of certain sex crimes have the right to ask the judge to order that the information in the police report not be released. If the judge grants the request, all names and details will remain confidential until after a preliminary hearing or an arraignment or until the case is dismissed.
2. To be notified and attend, upon request, all proceedings involving the criminal or delinquent conduct against the victim.
Victims have the right to receive notice of public hearings involving the criminal offense or delinquent act against the victim. Victims have the right to attend the entire trial, including jury selection, and any related hearing or proceedings (except for grand jury proceedings) unless the court finds the victim’s presence interfere with the suspect’s right for a fair trial. Victims may request an advocate or support person accompany them to the court hearing.
Upon request, victims will be notified of the results of the case. If charges against the suspect are proved the prosecutor will provide information about the crimes the defendant was convicted of, information on the sentencing or dispositional hearing, an explanation that a victim may make a victim impact statement, contact information of the probation office preparing the presentence or disposition investigation and victim impact statement, and information on any sentence imposed.
3. To speak in any public proceeding involving the offender’s release, plea, sentencing, disposition or parole.
The Ohio Revised Code currently provide victims with the right to give victim impact statements at sentencing and parole hearings. Marsy’s Law expands the right to be heard to include other hearings such as release, including arraignment, and plea. The reasoning behind this is that the victim is often in a unique position to explain to the court the risk an offender poses upon release and to help the court understand the true impact of the crime before accepting a plea.
4. To reasonable protection from the accused or person acting on his or her behalf.
Within a reasonable amount of time after a suspect is arrested or detained, a law enforcement officer must give the victim the name of the person arrested or detained, information on whether the suspect is eligible for pretrial release, the law enforcement agency’s phone number, and information on how to check the status of the suspect’s bond and custody. Victims have the right to reasonable protection from the accused or people acting on behalf of the accused.
5. To receive notice if the offender is released or escapes.
Victims have the right to receive notice of any release or escape of an offender. Victims of first-, second-, or third-degree violent felonies whose offenders are incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will receive automatic notification of release, transfer, escape, possible patrol, and other updates. Other victims must request notifications.
6. To refuse to answer questions from the offender or any person representing the offender (discovery), except as authorized by Article I, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution.
Victims have the right to refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused.
7. The full and timely restitution from the offender.
Under Marsy’s Law, a court must consider full and timely restitution and, at minimum, hold a hearing when the issue of restitution is in dispute. Courts are required to order restitution, not to exceed a victim’s actual losses. Victims must still prove their losses in compensable categories. Read the Ohio Revised Code section on reparations.
Victims and their families may encounter physical, emotional, and economic hardship long after a crime occurs. Victims eligible for potential compensation are those who experienced crimes that pose a substantial threat of injury or death. Examples include assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, homicide, menacing, and stalking. Victims of motor vehicle crimes, including operating a vehicle while impaired and vehicular assault, may also be entitled to compensation. Victims who do not report a crime are not eligible for compensation. For more information contact the Crime Victim Services Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 1-(800)-582-2877 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/Victims
8. To proceedings without unreasonable delay and a prompt conclusion of the case.
Victims have the right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay and the right to a prompt conclusion to the case. If there is a motion or request to substantially delay prosecution of the case, the prosecutor must inform the victim. If the victim objects, the prosecutor must inform the court, and the court, to the extent possible, must consider the objection in ruling on the motion or request.
9. Upon request, to confer with the government’s attorney.
Victims, upon request, have the right to exercise their rights by themselves, with counsel or through the prosecutor. If a victim is a minor or is incapacitated, incompetent or deceased, or if the victim chooses to designate another person, a relative or another person may exercise the victim’s rights as their representative,
10. To written notice of all rights in the Amendment.
Domestic Violence and Protection Order
On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. If you believe you have been a victim of domestic violence, you must go to court to receive a Temporary Protection Order.
What is domestic violence?
The law states that no person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member, recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member, or by threat of force knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member.
What to do if you’re a victim of domestic violence
If you believe you have been a victim of domestic violence, report it to police. You must go to court to receive a Temporary Protection Order.
What is a Temporary Protection Order?
A Temporary Protection Order (TPO) can be given when the victim wants protection from the offender while a case is still pending in court. The TPO is only available after criminal charges have been filed. The purpose of the TPO is to keep the abuser away from you while the criminal case is ongoing in court.
How can I file a Temporary Protection Order?
Once there are criminal charges filed, you may file for a criminal TPO with the prosecutor’s office on the 17th floor of the Franklin County Municipal Court building. A clerk is on hand to help you fill out the forms that are provided for you.
Arraignment will take place at the Franklin County Municipal Courthouse the next date court is in session in room 4-D. If the TPO is granted by the courts, it will remain in effect until the criminal case is resolved. If the defendant violates the TPO, he or she can be charged with a new crime. The defendant cannot violate the TPO in any way — even with the victim’s permission. Only the judge can change the terms and conditions.
Franklin County Clerk of Courts can be reached at (614) 525-3650.
Court dates can be viewed online.
Franklin County Municipal Courthouse
375 South High Street
Fourth Floor, Room 4D
What is a Civil Protection Order (CPO)?
A Civil Protection Order or (CPO) is used when the victim wants protection from the offender after the case is over. The CPO is available for victims who have been abused by a family member, spouse or ex-spouse, or roommate. The purpose of the CPO is to keep the offender away from you and prevent more abuse from happening.
How can I file a Civil Protection Order?
Although it’s not required, it’s recommended to speak with an attorney. The first step in obtaining a CPO is filing a petition at the domestic relations court. If the victim is under the age of 18, a parent or legal guardian may assist.
After the submission of a petition, a hearing will take place between the victim and the judge. The offender will not be present at the hearing. A full hearing will take place in 7 to 10 business days, when the victim and the offender will be present and testify under oath.
A Civil Protection Order can last up to five years, depending on what the judge orders. A CPO can also be renewed after it has expired.
Who can I contact for help?
For emergencies, call 911
Hilliard City Victim Advocate: Cynthia Newsome — (614) 300-5921.
Hilliard City Prosecutor: Dawn Steele — (614) 334-2362.
For incidents that occur in Norwich Township, call the Columbus Domestic Violence Unit at (614) 296-6232.
For support, food, safety, and a place to live, reach CHOICES Crisis Hotline 24 hours per day at (614) 224-4663. Reach Asha Ray of Hope, 4900 Reed Road, Columbus at (614) 565-2918.
With today’s technology it is very likely that you will have your credit card used fraudulently at least once in your lifetime. You may have done nothing wrong to compromise your card – tricky technology may allow thieves to get this information without you knowing it. If you find charges on your card that you did not authorize, contact your credit card company immediately. They will walk you through their process for shutting down the account and sending you a new card. They may need a police report. HPD can provide a reference number that can be used for this purpose.
If your credit card was used fraudulently, you should take action to ensure your identity was not stolen. What is the difference? Identity theft is more than a thief using your credit card. It is someone who has obtained your personal information like your social security number, date of birth, address, bank account number, etc. The thief tries to use your information to open loan accounts in your name, steal your tax refund or social security, use your Medicare benefits, or attempt many other tricks to steal money.
What do I do if someone has stolen my identity?
Start by contacting your bank, which will walk you through changes that need to be made to protect your accounts depending on which accounts were compromised.
Then, contact a credit reporting company and ask them to put an initial fraud alert on your credit report. You can also file an Initial Fraud Alert online for more immediate results. Proof of identity is required. The company called must tell the other companies about the alert.
- Equifax 1‑(800)‑525‑6285
- Experian 1‑(888)‑397‑3742
- TransUnion 1‑(800)‑680‑7289
Finally, contact HPD to file a report and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. A consumer advocate is available through the Ohio Attorney General for those who do not feel comfortable in attempting to rectify the effects of identity theft themselves. For this program, you must file and submit a copy of a police report and an Identity Theft Notification and Affidavit form. Victims can also report Identity Theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
If you are in an emergency, please call 911.
Batterer’s Intervention Programs
Other Programs and Services
National Elder Fraud Hotline(833) 372-8311
Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center(614) 848-8500
Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition(614) 285-4357
Capital Area Humane Society(614) 777-7387
Safe Haven Program(614) 315-0102
Catholic Social Services(614) 221-5851
Jewish Family Services(614) 231-1890
New Directions Career Center(614) 848-9992
Ohio Attorney General Crime Victims Services(800) 582-2877
Ohio Hispanic Coalition(614) 840-9934
Rape Hotline (24-hour)(614) 267-7020
SARNCO Sexual Abuse Services(614) 566-4414
Suicide Prevention Hotline(614) 221-5445
Somali Community Association of Ohio(614) 262-4068
Additional online Resources
- Ohio Attorney General Victim’s Services
- Ohio Attorney General Crime Victim’s Rights Booklet
- Ohio Constitution Victims’ Bill of Rights
- Ohio Attorney General: Identity Theft Basics
- Ohio Job & Family Services: Unemployment Fraud
- Ohio Revised Code: Victims’ Rights
- U.S. Code: Rape Exam Payments
- Ohio Revised Code: Address Confidentiality Program